Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A special Place!

This is "Wohngemeinschaft St Barbara in Herten, Germany". It's a nursing home with the concept of community living. It used to be a catholic church but since attendance in churches has declined everywhere has not been needed any longer and the property was converted into a nursing home with a chapel. It is a very special place. Even when the dementia is getting worse, this is their home to the end.

www.caritas-herten.de >>Pflegeeinrichtungen >>Hausgemeinschaft St. Barbara >>Hausprospekt St. B...

The building is a square with a square yard in the middle and it is two stories high. The walls to the yard inside are mainly glass so that it is light and airy inside. Anybody can go through one of the many glass doors to the garden which is full of blooms and herbs and very peaceful.
If the weather is bad (as it is often in Germany) the residents can walk around and around in the inside looking at the garden.

The residents are divided into four groups (families) and on each floor are two. Each group has about 10 or 11 residents with their own huge diningroom table and kitchen.
The care givers are cooking a lot of the meals and the meals are family style. The residents who are still in better health are encouraged to help peal potatoes or fold the washing etc.

Not everybody here yet for coffee hour and mother's place is empty. She spends her time in bed now. Everybody has their own room off this big hall. Mother's door has a photo of her (late) husband of 62 years so that she could find it herself.
The care givers are so nice and sweet to her ... very well-meaning. And I am also always asked whether I need something ... to eat at mealtime ... or coffee.

Thursday after my arrival was the big annual Spring Festival. People from the evangelical and catholic congregations, the residents and care givers from the home and their families gathered in the garden and it started with an ecumenical service. The next-door kindergarten children sang several songs and a band played songs for everybody to sing along. Later champagne and orange juice was offered and everybody received a pot with a marigold plant and somebody was busy at the grill.
Unfortunately mother collapsed in her wheelchair after half an hour and we had to put her back to bed and she was very poorly for the rest of the day. It had been so nice outside ... sigh.

Mother's eyes really bothered her. They were itching (a little infection?) and she was always rubbing them. Everybody said "Salbei".  Well, there was Salbei (sage) in the garden and one of the caregivers made a tea. We made gauze wet with it and put it on the eyes and ... it helped!
Mother is most of the time very tired and sleeping but ... when her youngest great-grandchild arrived ... she woke up and was as lively as I had not seen her in a while.
Ur-Omi Ulla and Julian Luis (born 28. November 2010) are talking with each other.

How I wish I could visit her with William. I am sure Helen is wishing the same.
Julian is really paying attention.

Oh, yes, Ur-Omi.

Bye-bye. Carsten is my sister's oldest.

It must be Monday if my sister Ute makes Waffles. It's everybody's favorite and even those who don't like cake any longer partake. The aroma is drifting through the whole building. Ute volunteers every week.

When I was finished writing the blog I pressed 'preview'. It came up and my computer wrote 'Vorschau' in the top left corner. How does my computer know that I am in Germany and makes comments in 'Deutsch'? I really would like to know that!!!

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely place! I love that there is a kindergarten next door – that makes so much sense!