Young Power in Elderly Care

Jonas Lührs, a volunteer from Germany built out special connections with elderly people through the regular weekly visits and conversations. Natalia Puchajda, Polish EVS volunteer is reporting.

Several volunteers from abroad are working at the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta (Magyar Máltai Szeretetszolgálat). In December I visited the Temporary Shelter for Families in Békásmegyer, where Krystian, a Polish volunteer was working. This time I spent a day with Jonas, a volunteer from Germany who works with elderly people who live in their own homes, but need some help. Sometimes he only talks with them, sometimes he does shopping, brings the lunch or washes some of them.

Before the visit I thought that it will be a sad day. Not a lot of time had to pass until I realized that I will experience so much positive energy that I wasn’t even expecting.

First, we were at the office of Jonas, which is in the building of the Integrated Institution of Miklós utca. I spent the whole working day with Jonas. The plan was to visit three people during these few hours.

Photo: Natalia Puchajda

The first person who we visited was a visually impaired man, Tibor. He is 99 years old, in May he will turn 100! When we arrived to his home, I felt like at the home of my grandparents. It was really nice feeling, which I remembered from childhood. Tibor lives alone for five years, since the death of his wife. Earlier his wife took care of him, but now he can only count on the help of his children and the volunteers.

Jonas visits him day by day from Monday till Friday every week. He reads the Bible in German and Hungarian as Tibor speaks German fluently. Jonas also helps to wash him.

Tibor is warm-hearted and clever person. With the support of Jonas, I could talk to him for a short time. After the visit Jonas said that Tibor was very happy because of my visit. He saw it on his face. I was really happy that I could give him the happiness and he gave me same good feelings in exchange. It was really nice to be there and I would even have stayed longer to spend more time with him. Elderly people always have lots of interesting stories to tell, because of their experience and life wisdom.

The second person was a woman, Zsóka. She had small accident, so first we talked to another woman who was nice and talkative. Finally, the “patient” of Jonas arrived. She was very lovely and she wanted to talk a lot. Unfortunately, she could only speak Hungarian, so it was hard to talk to her. Jonas could talk more, he uses Hungarian day by day at work and he is getting better and better.

Photo: Natalia Puchajda

We drank tea and coffee there and we had to come back to the office for the lunch of the third person. The woman was not at home, so we left food on the door handle.

Jonas has eight persons to visit at his workplace. He visits them minimum once per week. He sees some of them more often, the others more rarely. He really likes his job and I can totally understand this. Although this work isn’t very easy, is still very rewarding. He feels that he does something useful, his patients appreciate this and he can notice this day by day at work. The elderly people really like him and Jonas is also very good listener.

It is a very good opportunity for Jonas to develop himself, and for the elderly to spend time with young and strong person, who can help and motivate. It was an unforgettable day.

Natalia Puchajda