Something good about nursing homes: Story of the writing class and realized dreams

This positive story about long-term care is from the perspective of a nursing home administrator/president. If you’d like to add your own good news, please use the comments box at the bottom of the post, or for a possible featured blog post, send me an e-mail by clicking here. Enjoy!

Having been a part of the long-term care profession for more than 38 years, I find myself always being defensive. You are right in the fact that most of the good news in nursing homes never gets printed, just the bad things do. I would love to share a couple of projects we are doing in our facility that have been wonderful for those residents entrusted into our care.

One is a writing class. It started out with residents writing/telling something about their first day at school, or their first car, things of that nature. It was fun to hear them share. We had some assistance from our activity staff and a couple of volunteers. We collected these short stories and printed them into a book and invited their friends and family to come to a reading.

Most of the residents read their story. It was a blast to watch a gentleman with Alzheimer’s disease read flawlessly as if he were giving a presentation to the city committee. He never missed a beat. Yet when he had finished and a couple of others shared their story, he asked when his turn would be. To assist in our second book, we asked our local college if any English majors would be interested in coming and assisting the resident in writing their stories. We were able to have two students come for a semester and they would record the story and help the resident in getting it ready for print. We have printed three booklets of short stories and each resident and family member receives a copy.

Our second project was a dream of one of our staff members and it’s like the “Make a Wish” program. It’s called “Day Dreams.” We have a dream team made up of staff, who then volunteer their time in helping residents have a wish come true. These dreams can vary from going to a local restaurant with their loved ones, to flying model airplanes, to traveling out to their homestead, to riding in a parade in a convertible with the top down. There is no cost to the resident of this experience. We have been able to receive some donations to help cover the costs. We have been able to do over 45 dreams since 2005. These are only a few of those dreams.

I share these with you to encourage others, and that being a caregiver in a nursing home is a wonderful profession. It is not for everyone, but most of those caring for others are angels.

Thanks for stating there is a lot of good going on in Nursing Homes.

Gary M. Riffe, CNHA, Fellow


Hi-Acres Manor Nursing Center

Jamestown, ND

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