Sometimes one is lucky enough to make a friend of a client and in the case of Don, who has no family,that has been the case. I called in to see him recently to take him a small gift and card for his birthday the next day. As he was well settled into his new Aged Care Facility, which I had assisted him to find, I was hopeful that this year would be a far cry from his birthday last year when I was the only person to acknowledge his special day.
When I arrived I was met by the lifestyle person who told me that Don was going to have a party the following day to celebrate his birthday with his fellow residents and staff. He wanted to make a photo board of his life and needed some assistance, could I help?
His pile of old photographs was fascinating, showing him at different stages in his life and in other countries he had visited. I was impressed at his bravery travelling far and wide with his inability to hear and speak properly. He had spent many months in other cultures such as Samoa and Sri Lanka where he was a freelance photographer. Helping Don with this project gave me enormous satisfaction and an insight into parts of his life that I would never have known about. I generally enjoy my role as a placement consultant in the aged care field, but this was a deeper level of engagement.
More importantly was the pleasure and excitement it gave Don sharing his life story with others. It reminded me how important a person’s life history is to them and how much pleasure it gives them to share their story. This year I know Don will have a happy birthday!