Services Learning



Universityof the Incarnate Word


Recently,Dr. Sharon, my classmates, and I visited Nursing Home to learn moreabout that important part of any society, which is elderly people. Atthe centre, we met Mr. Matthew Reyna, the director of the Village atIncarnate Word who have been working in the village for about 25years. He gave us lots of information about the village. Heintroduced the nursing home to us, explained about the people wholive there, how they life in there, how they deal with them, and thechallenges they face every day.

Accordingto Mr. Matthew, the nursing home consists of dementia patients atdifferent levels. There are two departments of assistance mendingbill in the nursing home: assistance mending bill and special itemmemory care unit. Those residences that receive their assistance intheir activities deal in life are called ADls- activities of dailylives. They are assisted in most of their activities such asdressing, going to the washrooms, eating, and getting in the bed. Ifthe situation worsens, these patients start receiving special care.This is when a person cannot communicate and do simple dailyactivities. The nursing home has sixty patients all at differentstages of dementia and with different needs of attention. Mr. Matthewthen urges that sometime growing old is not fun. Most of theseresidences in the nursing were once young and energetic. Nowadays,they cannot take themselves to the bathroom they have no friends,and it is difficult to cope up with life. In essence, these peopleare suffering day in day out. One of the main goals of the nursinghome is to help them reduce their suffering, make them enjoy life,and ensure they are not intimidated. They engage them into variousactivities such as special dance and cooking art. Luckily, all thestaffs in the nursing home have different skills that they use tohelp them. Further, Mr. Matthew states that the nursing home is not ahospital hence, if a residence requires medical attention, it is thepatient’s responsibility to cater for the expenses. They are onlyconcerned with well-being- mental well being, physical well-being,and spiritual well-being. Nevertheless, the nursing managementinvites some medical practitioners occasionally. Most of the nursingresidences are suffering from Alzheimer disease (AD), a commondementia. Alzheimer is a progressive and irreversible brain diseasethat tampers with thinking skills and destroys the patient’smemory. Eventually, it becomes hard for the patient to accomplisheven a simple task such as eating, dressing, and communicating(Cavanaugh,Blanchard-Fields,2015).In most cases, Alzheimer affect people with sixty and above years.

Twodays after my first visit to the nursing home, I went back tovolunteer there. My goal for the follow up visits was to learn moreabout elderlys who suffer from Alzheimer disease. Mr. Matthewexplained that the Alzheimer disease has different stages wherebysome residences were in early stages while others were at moreadvanced stages. He said also, it is the duty of the nursing staffsto ensure that patients receive their medicine and at the good time.Since the patients have loss of memory, they do not keep theirmedicine or take them by their own. In addition, the nurses have theresponsibility of taking care of them, as well as monitoring theirblood pressure at all the time.

Duringmy visit to Alzheimer department in the Village at Incarnate WordNursing Home, I came across two women: Helen and Nora who were atdifferent stages. Both with seventy years, Helen was at a severestage. She would not comprehend what was happening. She repeatedlyasked me the same questions without remembering that she had askedthem earlier. In addition, she does not remember her past life. Allthat she can recall is that she has two daughters, but she could notrecall their names. Helen is not alone some of mates also do notrecall their past life. Unfortunately, some other patients forgottheir identity and they now look sad and frustrated. According toCavanaughet al. (2015),attentionand memory are two most significant psychological processes forsuccess in life. He further discusses the differences betweenattention among the younger and the older adults. According research,younger people have high attention and memory level compared to theolder people. As people tend to age, they are faced with complexsituations that affect the functioning of the brain causing memoryloss.

Onthe other hand, Nora is at the mild stage of Alzheimer. At least, shecan recall her past life. She is a divorcee and does not havechildren though it her wish to have some. She has two brothers whovisit her twice per year. Although she is living a happy life in thenursing home, she wishes to go back home. Unfortunately, she does nothave a home of her own. To my surprise, Nora has a Bachelors degreeand had earlier worked for several years.

Duringmy final visit, I visited extended care department. Here, I could notinterview the patients since they were at the advanced level. Theycould not understand anything. They all looked sad and werecompletely out of memory. It was even hard for them to feedthemselves. The nursing home staffs took special care for them. Theyare determined to bring joy to them by engaging them into funactivities. According to Vaillant,(2002),Alzheimer can affect both men and women in regardless if they arepoor or rich. Vaillantpreciselyexplain the process of aging and its connections with Alzheimer.Aging well involves physical and mental health

Inconclusion, I earned many experience about this group of people, whowere one day like me, young, active, and full of life. Life will spinand I will age, so, I need to get ready for that day. On other hand,I learned much information about Alzheimer diseases. Through mytheory knowledge and experiences, Alzheimer patients need specialcare. To take care of such patients, one has to the basic knowledgeof the daily care of Alzheimer patients. Alzheimer patients havedifficulty in communicating and they struggle finding the right wordsto express themselves (MayoClinic Staff, n.p).To help them improve their communication, one should pay attention tothem, maintain eye contact, speak naturally without shouting to them,and avoid background noise. Tip that can help to manage unpredictablebehavioural is to maintain skills, remain simple, be consistent,communicate, be calm, watch medications, as well as have a healthydiet.


Cavanaugh,J. C. &amp Blanchard-Fields, F. (2015). Adult development and aging(7th ed.).Stamford,CT: Cengage Learning.

MayoClinic Staff. &quotCaregivers.&quotAlzheimer`s:How to help a caregiver.N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2014.&lt

Vaillant,G. E. (2002). Aging well: Surprising guideposts to a happier lifefrom the landmarkHarvardstudy of adult development. Boston: Little, Brown, &amp Co.