Volunteering at a Retirement Home

教会でもう一つのボランティアイベントに参加し、今回は八丁堀にある老人ホームでボランティア活動をしました。今は社会の多くの人が老人、年を取るにつれて直面された戦いを見落とすのは残念で、老人差別は問題になってきました。日本は老人がだんだん増えてくる社会になり、政府はその問題への対策を立てなければなりません。個人的には祖父が認知症を患い、子供の頃からこのような老人ホームによく訪れました。ところが、おじいさんを訪問することが感謝すべきほどしなかったんです。今祖母はまだ働いているんですが、アシスタントリビングに住み、他の老人及び世話をする人がいて、安心します。年上の人が寂しくなりやすいので、ボランティアで老人の一日を明るくする人がいて、幸いです。I participated in another volunteer event with my church, this time at a retirement home in Hachobori. It’s a shame that many people in society forget about elders and the struggles that they face as they get older, and ageism is still a very present issue. Especially as Japan is becoming a society where there are increasingly more elderly, the government will have to implement new policies to cope with the challenges. Personally I have visited homes like these many times growing up, as my grandpa suffered from dementia when I was young. Unfortunately as a child I didn’t appreciate visiting him as much as I should. Now my grandma lives in an assisted living facility, and although she is still actively working, it’s nice that there are people who come to the home to volunteer some of their time to brighten an elder’s day, as they can get lonely. 

最初の活動はビンゴでした。中に数が書いてあるボールを選ぶものを回転しました。一人の女の人は勝たなくても、番号があったら大声で「ありまーす」と怒鳴り、よく楽しみにしているようでした。老人たちがあまり耳が聞こえなさそうで、番号を聞けなくてゲームが長い間でした。The first activity we did was play bingo. I spun the thing that chooses the balls with numbers on it. It was so cute watching them all play. One lady was super ecstatic and although she didn’t win, she got so excited and yelled out every time she got a number. The game lasted quite a long time actually, as I am not sure if they could all hear the numbers so it took awhile before someone got a bingo.

それから部屋の前で立ち並んで、賛美歌とみんながよく知っている歌を歌ってあげました。ある老人が合わせて歌って、歌が終わってから嬉しく拍手してくれました。Then we sang some worship and classic songs that they would know. We stood at the front of the room and sang to them while some even sang along. They all clapped happily after each song.

最後の活動は、別々のグフープに分裂して、老人と一緒に話をすることでした。ミニゲームやおりがみがあり、日本語があまり上手ではないのでおりがみをすることにしました。一生懸命女の人に鶴の折り方を教えてあげてみたのに、年上の人は私の悪い日本語を聞いたら、日本人のように見えるからちょっとびっくりしたようでした。発音、古い単語があまり分からないし、時々老人があまり分からなくて残念です。ホームを出た時、ある女の人は「またねー!」と嬉しく言いました。The last thing we did was just break off into groups and sit with them to talk. There was some small mini games and origami, so I chose origami because I am not that good at speaking Japanese. I did my best to teach some ladies how to make a crane, as they forgot how to. I think they were sort of confused that I couldn’t speak or understand a lot of what they were saying even though I look Japanese. I have a hard time understanding some older Japanese people because of their accent and word usage so I need to get better at listening. Some of them also speak a little bit of other dialects so I get confused. I did my best and as we were leaving I saved to some ladies and they said “see you next time!”

自分の問題だけを集中しないように他の人を手伝うことが良いと思います。東京の生活に慣れてから、寂しくなりやすいです。また来月ボランティアをしたいと思います。I think volunteering and helping others is a great way to step out and stop focusing on your own problems. Tokyo can be a lonely city after the “foreigner” mystic wears out and you’ve explored like a tourist for so long. Hopefully I can come again next month!


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