I love working with, talking to, or just spending time with the elderly. They have so much knowledge to share – so many stories to tell and they all so it so wonderfully with their ability to regale with tales of time when things were so much simpler. Back when I first started building up my floral design business, I found myself with some spare time and started volunteering at a lovely nursing home in Manchester, NH. I would visit once a week and simply sit with residents and offer them hand massages. Such a simple gesture, yet one that meant so much to both each resident and myself. Some were embarrassed by their weathered hands, but I would tell them that those hands had seen so much and felt so many things that they should be proud.
Over time, as I got busier, I had to give up that role. I missed it immensely! If you have ever volunteered, you understand what you come away with by giving of yourself – many would say, “you are so thoughtful to give of your time” – the reward was all mine.
Fast forward to several years later and I find myself with a lovely order for a woman turning 100 years old!! She lives at Birch Heights – a vacation retirement home, located in Derry, NH. Again, loving the elderly, I wanted to take care of this delivery myself. The facility was gorgeous, the staff extremely friendly and my 100 year old customer, was thrilled with her flowers. Excitedly, I received a call from their activities director a few days later who asked me if I would consider holding a flower arrangement class for the residents. I jumped at the opportunity! While I am passionate about my work and love to share my skills, this would also allow me back into an environment that I missed immensely. At that first class, the residents didn’t quite know what to expect but I quickly had them getting their hands dirty as I taught them how to make a dish garden of plants utilizing some of the elements of floral design.
Hesitant to join in, one gentleman quietly came in and sat alone. When I asked him if he would like to join in, he politely declined saying that he only wanted to watch. Within 10 minutes, over he came asking to participate – the managers later told me that this particular man was very distant and didn’t participate in their activities very often. Seeing that my passion instilled enough excitement in him to want to participate was so gratifying. Moments like that, where I can make a different in these people lives, are what it all worth.
I’ve been back several times since and will continue to go as I have made some wonderful new friends there that I love visiting with. Here are a few pictures of our most recent floral arrangement class. Love the smiles on their faces!