I hope you are all doing well! I ended up falling a bit behind with my posts, so you’re going to see my name a lot on the site for the next little bit as I publish the ends of my action post!
In this post, I’m going to explain in more detail my role as a volunteer, some of my experiences, and some of the challenges I’ve faced in both the BCPSCA and Eagle Ridge Hospital (ERH).
So, let’s get started!
Beginning with ERH, I’d say I faced the most difficulties, but also have learned the most from my time here – specifically, working with the elders in the manor. For those of you who have not read my previous post, your time as a volunteer here is split into two parts: helping the nurses/working in the hospital and working in the manor, where the elderly residents live. The elders in the manor may have dementia, Alzheimer’s, and numerous other conditions that volunteers like me must be mindful of. One of the main jobs in the manor is feeding dinner to the residents. When first starting out, this task was really intimidating and honestly, sometimes it still is! Not all of the residents need someone to feed them and not all of them need the same level of help. For example, one person may need help with cutting up their food, one may need help with opening packages, and one may need help with everything, including putting food into their mouths. However, you cannot assume what kind of help someone needs as it may be offensive to some to assume that they need help. So, asking what I can do to help a person is personally the first thing I do before actually sitting down and helping.
I’ve been able to create a lot of bonds and relationships with the residents over the past year and a half, but because many of them have dementia and/or Alzheimer’s, more often than not, the people I talked to do not remember me from the previous week. This can affect a person, but I look at it as a chance to get to know someone again. One of my favourite stories as a volunteer is with a resident named Katherine. Near the end of my shift, Katherine was telling me about how lonely she feels because her family wasn’t able to visit her today. She asked if I could come to her room as she wanted to show me her tarot cards. Usually, the volunteers don’t spend much time in resident rooms but I asked a nurse and she said it’s alright. After getting to her room, Katherine asked if she could read my future. She started to tell me about how a man with brown hair and blue eyes is going to fall in love with me but another man with blonde hair and green eyes will be very jealous and try to split us apart. When it was my time to leave, I thanked her for reading my fortune and she reminded me to watch out for these two fellows. The next week, I went up to Katherine, reminding her of what she told me and I told her that I did meet someone with brown hair and blue eyes. I expected her to be excited, but instead, she told me, “Oh dear, don’t take my fortune tellings seriously! I make everything up anyways.” I wanted to burst out laughing! To this day, it’s one of my fondest memories as a volunteer.
As for the BCSPCA, I’ve found that each shift is a little bit more routine as the animals are more predictable than the people at ERH which is to be expected. I haven’t faced too many challenges, but I’d say the main one is being able to complete all the tasks for my shift on time. There have been times when I am the only volunteer available so I must wash/sanitize/dry dishes, wash/sanitize/dry litter boxes, prepare and feed the animals wet food, prepare tomorrow’s dry food, sweep and mop the floors, and do the laundry. Not only that, but I’m supposed to do all this in an hour to be able to spend another hour with the animals! Of course, this isn’t always possible, so my first priority is to take care of the housekeeping and spend any extra time with the animals.
Although I really don’t mind cleaning/keeping the shelter tidy (in fact, it can be kind of fun), I do prefer spending time with the animals. Especially the kittens! One of my favourite memories was helping one of my best friends choose a kitten to adopt. My friend and her family had come in twice before, but each time, there were no kittens available – which rarely happens! Luck was just not on their side. But, you know what they say, third times the charm! On their third visit, a little ten-week old kitten named Creek caught their eye. This kitten was very cuddly and purred very loudly when you held him which reminded them of their previous cat who had unfortunately passed. They knew this was the cat for them! After filling out some paperwork, Creek (now named Fritz) was adopted and he is extremely happy in his new home! I still visit this cute kitty whenever I go to my friend’s house and she sends me lots of pictures and videos. It was a great day!
That’s all for this post! I hope you guys learned more about what I do as a volunteer and enjoyed hearing some stories! Feel free to leave me a comment below! 🙂