June 12, 2009

Parshall students in compassionate project for elderly

Parshall students in compassionate project for elderly
Parshall’s Family and Independent class earned admiration from nursing home staff, teachers and residents as they worked on a writing assignment this spring – hands down!
Students have been visiting Rock View Center residents off and on for the past couple months in an effort to create framed writings about each resident.
Their project entitled “These Hands” encouraged students to write about what resident hands have done over the years. Each teen was assigned a couple residents to interview. They had a basic question-and-answer sheet, but after students spent time with residents, some found out way more about life than expected.
“When I first mentioned going to the nursing home, students were skeptical. In fact, some of them said they did not want to go at all because they said the nursing home made them feel sad,” FIL instructor Ruth Zacher said.
“The students changed their minds after just one visit to the home,” Zacher added. I heard laughter and caring words within a few minutes of our first visit.”
The students learned that hands could talk they could tell the story of a lifetime.
For instance, Ina Tollefson was born in 1918 at Van Hook. Her hands enjoyed caring for her three children and helping her husband in any way she could on the family farm.
Florence Bartleson held hands with her husband for 76 married years. Her hands cared for her children and helped raise chickens, ducks, turkeys and cattle. She also enjoyed handiwork such as knitting and crocheting and her hands were kept busy with canning.
All residents of the center were presented with their personal frames, photos and histories during a special National Nursing Home Week commemoration.
“There were tears in some eyes,” said the student’s instructor Ruth Zacher. “Not just in the eyes of the elders, but in the eyes of the youth as well.”
“It was pretty emotional for some residents,” activities director Nancy Sandstrom pointed out. “And I don’t know when I’ve heard so many comments from staff and family about what a nice job the students did.”

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