On July 22nd, I went to the Samsung Noble County nursing home to do volunteer work to help the elderly. I was introduced to this volunteer opportunity by my piano teacher who regularly performed for the elderly at a nursing home. I haven’t done volunteer work of this kind before, but I thought that it would be a very fulfilling experience to learn about the daily hurdles that elders have to go through, and to lend them a hand up close.
|(This is a picture I took at the entrance of the Nursing Home area of the Samsung Noble County.)|
The Samsung Noble County is a public welfare facility for the elderly that combines housing, medicine, culture, and sports. It has both indoor and outdoor facilities. The living house, which accommodates 540 households, is a residential space for healthy elders who can individually support themselves. Next to that, there is a nursing home for elders who are not completely healthy. The elders there need special care because they are not able to support themselves. There are also a culture center that has facilities like book stores, restaurants, and a medical center, including a nursery.
|(This is the fitness training area in the nursing home. Elders train here to keep their reflexes alive.)|
When I arrived at the nursing home for volunteer work, I was informed about the elderly from a social worker. According to statistics, the proportion of people of over 65 years old to the population of Korea is currently over 10%. Statisticians predict that it will be 14% in 2018, and will exceed 20% in 2026. Thus, Korea will become a super-aged society. Because there will be more and more older people in our society, the younger generations must raise awareness of this issue, and be ready to help elders around us who are going through difficulties, such as Alzheimer’s disease, and paralysis. These things naturally happen to some elders because of aging.
Besides the social issue, we were also introduced how to medically care for the elders. IV drips, for example, require special attention because the residents with Alzheimer’s disease could fidget when the needle goes in. To prevent this, gauze has to be cut in a special way, so it can cover the needle.
We also visited the nursing homes where the elders lived in. A majority of them were exercising: moving their arms, shoulders, and eyes. This allowed for them to keep their muscles flexible and reflexes quick. If the elders were having a hard time doing these exercises, we helped them out by talking to them and joining the training. Afterwards, we pushed the wheelchairs that the elders were on around the floor, so they could move around and take a good break.
|(This was a picture that I took with the other students here for volunteer work after all the activities were over.)|
Receiving an education and participating in activities were a great experience. I was aware that Korean society is now changing towards a relatively super-aged society, but the education also taught me that we should raise awareness of elders going through difficulties in everyday life and that we should help them out in every way possible. The activity where we cut the gauze was quite difficult and tiring, but I finished the activity with the thought that I doing a little bit of hard work could be a big help to the elders receiving medical care. After the activities were over, I realized that the social workers at the nursing home deserve respect and gratitude. The work was definitely not easy, but it is very meaningful for the workers themselves, the elders, and the society as a whole. A lot of teenagers, including me, might feel a sense of distance when facing elders, because they aren’t easy to approach. I learned that the elderly are just like everyone else, and some of them need a little bit more help than others, because of the physical hurdle that is aging. This opportunity allowed me to look at elders from a different point of view than before, and approach them more easily. I will try to help anyone experiencing difficulties in everyday life, including the elderly.
Korea International School
Jaehong Min firstname.lastname@example.org
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