Sharing the Passion of Reading: Volunteering at Gianna Homes
Maddy writes about her passion of reading…
When it came to volunteering, my mom frequently told me to “share my passions”. I was never quite sure what she meant. One day, as I sat in the kitchen doing homework, a story came on the news about how reading can positively affect people with Alzheimer’s. I absolutely love reading, so hearing this was like an epiphany. I researched “reading” and “Alzheimer’s”, and found a study from The University of Liverpool called “A Literature Based Intervention for Older People Living with Dementia.” It explained how read-aloud activities significantly benefit people living with Alzheimer’s. With a little more research I found Gianna Homes. This is when my whole journey started.
I began visiting for an hour on Sundays, reading children’s books. I quickly realized that reading was not the only reason I wanted to be there. The residents yearn for a place where they feel secure, and I wanted to help them feel that. Reading brings peace to the residents, and I like to believe it reminds them of their childhood. There is a special comfort in reading. Sometimes reading eases everyone’s nerves, even the family members of the residents. I cherish these moments where I see everyone at peace and content.
Maddy is Grateful…
I am so grateful for all of the residents. I have loved getting to know them over the past year. I like hearing their stories, and getting to know each of their personalities. I keep coming back because all of the residents have a special place in my heart. The residents have taught me so much, from patience to love. My grandparents all live in Rhode Island so I feel as if the residents are almost a second family to me.
The residents do not know who I am, but this is not important. I can tell they know I am a safe person to be around when they hold my hand or smile at me. Nothing is more gratifying. I do not want remembrance; I want to make them feel loved, respected, welcome, normal, and that they are not alone.
What started as a small idea has blossomed into something that has changed my life forever. I am now considering a major in healthcare or neuroscience, which all started from Gianna Homes. Volunteering at Gianna Homes is one of the best experiences I have had in my lifetime. I am forever grateful for all of the work and love put into Gianna and Gladys’ Place. Everyone does such a wonderful job, and I am so incredibly proud to be a part of an organization so beautiful. I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for all they do. No matter what, volunteering with Alzheimer’s patients is a passion I will continue to share. I believe that is what the residents would want.
A little more about Maddy
Maddy has been volunteering at Gianna Homes since December 2014. She is a senior at Wayzata High School. Because of her experience at Gianna Homes, she is considering a major in neuroscience or a business degree that provides skills to manage healthcare or nonprofit organizations.
Huge THANK YOU to Maddy for sharing her passion of reading with our residents here at Gianna homes!
If you would like information on how Gianna Homes can help you and your loved one, please reach out to Cari via her direct dial at 952-443-6113 or email Info@giannahomes.org or visit our website to learn more about us!
If you are searching for more general information about Alzheimer’s please feel free to begin here.
Are you new to the world of memory loss? Please refer to the Alzheimer’s Association (a non-profit helping people around the country and their loved one’s find assistance when learning about memory loss) for additional articles and helpful information.