The following was written by a trained volunteer in Ezer Mizion’s new program for the elderly designed to bring out the golden-ager from a pit of depression back into his world of family and friends.
How are you? I just wanted to share what happened last week with my sessions with the elderly. You really trained me well. You’ll see in a minute why I say that.
On Wednesday, I woke up with strong leg pains. I called Mrs. G.’s attendant, intending to cancel my session for that day. As soon as I told her that I was Nechama from Ezer Mizion, she didn’t let me say another thing. She burst in, saying enthusiastically, “We’re waiting for you!” I was so moved that I couldn’t refuse her. I told her that I would be late, but she didn’t care when I would come, as long as I would come. I came to them literally limping and in pain. It was such an emotional session. The non-Jewish attendant told me, “Please come again. We are waiting for you. It’s very important to her to pray. I can’t do it with her.” It’s a fact: When I davened aloud, she was alert for almost three quarters of an hour. She opened her eyes wide, as if she understood every word I was saying and as if she was reminded of things she once knew. I left happily, after we danced and sang songs about the coming of Mashiach. It seems to me that the attendant was also touched. She said, “We’re waiting to see you next week!”
From there, I went to Mrs. S. Her daughter was so excited to see me. “You cannot imagine how much Imma waits for you. She talks about it all day.” The daughter said that suddenly, she is a lot more motivated and willing to do things she hasn’t done for years. I gave her a page of symmetric shapes to color in and she did it with great effort. I reflected her feelings that she doesn’t feel like working and isn’t in the mood because of her aches and pains and general ill health.
After I gave her the chance to talk about what was really bothering her, I took out the Memory game I had borrowed from Ezer Mizion’s Game Lending Library. At first she looked askance at it, without interest, as if to say, “What do I have to do with such a game?” Slowly, but surely, I brought her to a point where she really enjoyed it and cooperated. Her daughter sat in the next room, and couldn’t believe what she saw.
When I finished playing with her, I gave her a hoop with a ball, and again, she at first did not want it. I told her we would play with her daughter. I held the loop, and she and her daughter played with the ball for a few minutes, and there was lots of laughter and joy. My grandchildren came to her, and she blessed them and showed interest, and it was really fun for her and the children.
After the whole long story that I wrote, I almost forgot the “cherry on top” – that the pain in my leg disappeared as if it had never been… apparently in the merit of my sessions that I had planned to cancel.
Ezer Mizion provides services to over 660,000 of Israel’s population annually in addition to its Bone Marrow Registry which saves the lives of Jewish cancer patients the world over.