By Molly Templin, Global Scholar
Coming to Villa Juncal Nursing Home for the first time I was a bit intimidated to meet the people and maybe not be able to understand them and vice versa. This is part of our Service Learning Course and our expectations are very high. However, the second we walked into the main lobby everyone was quite friendly and enduring. The first time we met the whole group was three weeks ago and we all took part in an impromptu speaking. Where the leader of the group would orchestrate a topic and either Kate, Maddy or I would stand in the middle and have a conversation with another person in the group. The community here is light hearted, comical, and quick on their responses. Out of the 20 members in our group about three fourths participate and the rest observe.
There is a wage range of how much help each person needs and what they can achieve on their own. Throughout our two hours there are care takers who come in and administer pills that need to be taken, water given out, and is in the corner if anyone needs anything. The building itself its absolutely beautiful and timeless, sort of like the people who live inside, it is located on Juncal inwards of Ave. Libertador. In the U.S. a way to describe an elderly person who is still very alert and has a lot of sense of humor would be identified as a “whipper-snapper”. I enjoy listening to all of their conversations and things that they have to say about what we are doing. Their participation and activities we do is the highlight of my week. On the Villa Juncal webpage they describe their group that facilitates the permanence of the elderly in their environment, providing their independence and self-esteem. Since we are only there two-four hours a week it makes it difficult to see how they act and react without visitors or in a facilitated group. the demographic of the caregivers is female and roughly between 25-45 years old. The people who work the front desk and the group leader are in the same age category as the caregivers but are a mix of male and female. During our group activities there are three extravagantly outspoken women who will say what is on their mind at that exact moment and will disregard if anyone else´s talk. The first day we met them there was an overload of questions; who we were, where are we from, why did we come to Argentina, what is our goal from being at Juncal, what are we studying in school, and many more. With our following visit I am getting to know and understand certain individuals much more and I am excited to see what the next few weeks have to bring.