Today was Aunt JoJo's birthday, and as a surprise, we got a special cake made for her. Then, we set up in the dining room of the nursing home and had someone go get her and bring her for her surprise party. We opened the invitation to any residents who also wanted to participate (we ordered a big cake).
Funny thing, mention free cake and ice cream, and the white hairs flock like bees to honey.
One lady hauled ass up to the cake table and plopped a chair right in front of the cake and sat down. Meanwhile, the staff was trying to coax my aunt out of her room, which practically takes and act of Congress. After a short while, the natives were getting restless (they wanted cake dammit!) and one guy kept eyeing the cake, the wheels turning in his head as to how far he could get in his wheelchair if he attempted a Grab and Dash.
She finally showed, everyone sang Happy Birthday, and we dished out cake and ice cream. Aunt JoJo loved it, and she even got to meet other residents (we've been trying to get her to be more social). One guy even wheeled up to her and took her picture. I have no idea if he plans on stalking her later. It might do her some good.
With cake and ice cream left over, we sent plates all around to various staff members, and a couple of residents would couldn't make it out of their room. Later on tonight, when they do their evening blood sugars, they should be able to tell who ate cake and who didn't.
It's a completely different feeling when you hang around a nursing home as opposed to being there to work. I felt more relaxed, and I didn't have to put on Nurse Face. At one point, I made a crude joke, and a wheelchair-bound woman laughed about it for five minutes. When you are employee, you have to be professional and all that, but I think that some of these people just miss real human interaction. That these people had productive lives before they came to live in the nursing home. Some even liked crude jokes.
The residents and staff seemed genuinely surprised that a family went to so much effort, which makes me sad to think that what we did is something they don't see much of. That their family members just dropped them off and forgot about them (which I think is the biggest stigmas about nursing homes). Aunt JoJo was even surprised (at one point, we thought she was going to cry), and when we thought about it, we couldn't remember the last time she had an actual birthday party. We'd take her out to dinner for her day and stuff, but nothing with cake and ice cream and friends.
Her kids suck.