Anna Babinec

Bowling Green State University

2017

“Through my internship, I learned about the different roles that make up a nursing home, working with different people, and how to care for the residents to make them feel at home. I have learned ways to interact with the residents, their families, and so much about their lives that I will never forget.”

For my Spring 2017 Internship, I got the wonderful opportunity to intern at the Bowling Green Manor, located in Bowling Green, Ohio. I received the prospect of working with a plethora of different staff members from shadowing the Activity Director, Director of Nursing, Office Manager, and even Dieticians! For My Spring Internship project, I worked closely with the Activity Director to create Sensory Boxes for Residents with Dementia.

While interning in a nursing home, I spent a lot of my time observing and working with residents with many different forms of dementia. I noticed that even the smallest sense of touch could make a huge difference in a resident’s life. A warm hug, shaking hands, and a tap on the back are all examples of touches that make a dementia elder’s day. I started to research how important of sense of touch is to a person with dementia. From my research, I found out that using different pictures, items, colors, and labels that are written out can enable seniors to talk about what they see and remain serene in situations. Due to the fact that dementia attacks the networks between the neurons that allow the brain to process information received by the senses, it becomes very difficult for the senior to talk and remember the information that they once remembered. People with dementia might have a difficult time trying to interconnect and transfer words to their loved ones which brings feelings of frustration. Some ways caregivers can help with this frustration is providing interests and hobbies that they were interested once in the past. This can assist with expressing themselves and help build a connection to their friends and family. Examples of sensory stimulation that might engage seniors with dementia might include picking up some knitting needles, smelling some flowers, touching sensory-rich resources such as different types of fabrics, and more. Sensory stimulation in the end is a wonderful chance for the senior to explore their past and even take a stroll down memory lane because they are increasing their focus toward one item a time. For my project, I chose the project of producing Sensory Boxes because throughout my time at the Bowling Green Manor, I spent a great deal of my time around residents with Dementia and other memory problems. I created individual, themed boxes that the residents could feel and touch, either bringing them back to a certain memory or childhood experience. The different boxes included a Back to School Box, Spa Box, A Sand Box, A Walk in Nature Box, and a Craft Box.

At the Bowling Green Manor, I spent a great deal of my time working with the Activity Department and overseeing different engaging activities for the residents. The BG Manor and the Activity Director felt as if it would be a beneficial project to conduct because it would be a great way that elders with dementia could spend their time and create conversation with caregivers.

Throughout the course of my internship, my project didn’t change too much, nor did I run into too many obstacles. I set out goals in which I wanted to finish my research by and when I wanted to create the boxes. The boxes were so fun to make and I enjoyed creating my project. The themed boxes gave me different ideas that I could sort different items into the boxes that went along with the certain theme. For example, for the Spa Box, I found items that were related to a spa theme, like face masks, nail polish, and massage gloves.

My Spring Internship project has opened a great deal of opportunity to me because I was able to create something with my two hands that would hopefully benefit someone else. I received the chance of witnessing residents open up and reflect on their childhood experiences. Some residents who don’t usually talk were feeling the objects in the box and bringing up thoughts to their caregiver.

Being a part of the Ohio Scholar in Aging Program and my internship at the Bowling Green Manor, I have learned a great deal about the aging society. Through my internship, I learned about the different roles that make up a nursing home, working with different people, and how to care for the residents to make them feel at home. I have learned ways to interact with the residents, their families, and so much about their lives that I will never forget. My internship has opened my eyes and made me really have a great experience working, serving the elders. Through the Ohio Scholar in Aging Program, I have learned so much knowledge and information that I will use throughout my life and upcoming profession as a nurse. I have realized that there are so many jobs that are important in serving the elders. The Program gave me the opportunity of working and meeting with so many peers and a network of different people from different agencies from all around the state. I would have never met these connections if it weren’t for the Program and I am extremely grateful for this opportunity.

Reflecting back on this past semester, this truly has been such a wonderful opportunity to be a part of. I would like to thank Jennifer Wagner, my professor and Internship Advisor, for introducing me to my Internship with the Bowling Green Manor and for helping me apply for the Ohio Scholar in Aging Program. She has assisted me a great deal with obtaining valuable resources and learning so much about this passion of mine. Thank you also to the Ohio Scholars in Aging Program for allowing me to meet so many wonderful people along the way! It is so amazing to see so many people serve the elderly in so many different ways.