Live Oak Adult Day Care
A volunteering interview by: Alexander Randolph
As a volunteer at Live Oak Adult Day Care Center I helped to take care of roughly eighteen to twenty seniors at a time. Basically the adult care center is essentially a daycare for seniors living with people (such as their children) who are out of the house for long periods because of their jobs. The list of activities that I was asked to perform included setting up and cleaning up activities for the seniors to do during the day These activities included anything from watercolor paintings to simply reading the daily newspapers. Also, monitoring them in their individual rooms or the common room was extremely important, preparing food for the seniors, and perhaps the most important and rewarding aspect, was simply spending time with the senior citizens and lifting their spirits. For the majority of the day the other volunteers and I basically attended to the everyday needs of an elderly member of society. However, the stories and knowledge that they imparted to us was so much more valuable than the time and effort we spent on them. In addition to these tasks, we were also responsible for checking them in and out of the center during morning and evening hours. Typically, I would come in for a couple hours a day for about two days a week during my junior year of high school because the center is located only about a block from where I attended high school at Los Gatos High
The original inspiration that I had for volunteering at Live Oak Senior Care Center during my high school years was for a service project that was assigned in my english class during my junior year. The reason that I chose to work at the senior care center was because I have an extremely close relationship with my grandparents which has brought both them and me extremely happy. After noticing that very few of my peers had this relationship I began to believe that I could change the lives of other senior citizens as well.
After my first day at the center I began to realize just how right I was about how I could make an impact on these people. The most valuable thing that I learned is that people from older generations have such a wealth of knowledge that we can learn from and become better people by heeding. This, to me was the single most important factor that motivated me to volunteer and then has kept me coming back throughout the years. Although I no longer live at home and therefor can no longer volunteer at Live Oak the time that I donated there was extremely well spent.
My final motivation for volunteering was to put myself in a position dealing with other people that maybe I was not extremely comfortable with. This includes interacting with adults and other volunteers my age that I had not come into contact with before. Before volunteering at Live Oak I was not the best in these situations but after I feel as though I have mastered the craft.
The Aha! moment…
While I learned a lot of things from volunteering my time at the senior day care center at Live Oak the things that stand out the most are the many stories, knowledge, and experiences that the seniors imparted to me during my hours working there as well as the social skills that I learned while working with the seniors, the full time workers at Live Oak, and my peers that volunteered with me. The reason that the stories and knowledge that the patients at the day care center gave to me and my fellow workers is first and foremost in this because of how profound an impact it makes on my everyday life. The reality of the situation is that they have such a wealth of experiences from living for so long and in such different societies than the one we live in now and it would be foolish for an individual not to at least try to benefit from that knowledge. Also, the happiness that they gave back to us is truly special because it is so innocent and pure. They are not paying to be there and we are not being paid to be there so it really is a mutual experience for both parties. The social skills and relationships that I gained from this experience are also exceptionally rare and one of a kind. I am so glad that I was given and that I eventually took the opportunity to give my time to people in such a way that they also gave back to me. Therefor the Live Oak senior center has taught me so many worthwhile things in my life.
To summarize it in three words…
inspiring, enlightening, eye-opening
Why should you do this
I could not think of a better way for people to volunteer their time than to work with the elderly. It is such a special and unique experience that everybody should try to o it at least for one day.