Austria, April 2022 – April 2023

Know Thyself as Soul Feldkirchen searched for a new charity project. We contacted several social services and, in the end, decided upon a retirement home in Steindorf, where our request for a visiting service was joyfully and gratefully received. 

The home’s directors informed us about those residents who were not receiving any visitors but would be delighted to receive visits. Thus, the visiting service commenced. Other volunteers also contributed ideas for small gifts during our get togethers.

We began visiting one lady, who the manager specifically identified, because she has been mentally impaired since birth. This was a great challenge at first, as we thought not much communication was possible, because the lady did not seem to understand us and was unclear in speech. However, everything turned out differently than expected: two other residents had their place at the same table in the lounge area, and very nice conversations ensued with all three of them. The feeling began to grow that perhaps our visits brought a little variety and joy into the everyday life of these three women.

The visits took place every second week and soon they were expecting us. Sometimes we brought flowers. Other times we brought small items like hair ribbons or bracelets for the lady we initially visited. Despite her impairment and her age, she was always styled very youthfully. She was visibly pleased.

For the other two ladies, sometimes we brought local tales to read or photos to show, so that we always had enough to look at and talk about. For one lady we had also prepared short-stories in English, because she lived for almost 30 years in New York. We were always astonished by her knowledge of the language. From time to time we also played games or even sang songs together.

In late winter we decided to sew little lavender-hearts and give them to the residents in the retirement home during one of our visits. We met twice, equipped with sewing-machines, fabric, absorbent cotton and – of course – a box of fine smelling lavender. Some volunteers cut the fabric hearts, some  stitched the pieces together, while others filled them with a mixture of cotton and lavender.

It was a great time together. We made approximately 50 hearts. But the hearts needed a more personal touch.  So, we also printed nice cards for inclusion with the gift.

Sewing lavender hearts for elders charity
Sewing lavender hearts for elders charity
Sewing lavender hearts for elders charity

For us, this project and the visits were beautiful and fulfilling. It simply felt good to share our time. We felt the joy and gratitude with which they accepted this attention. Unfortunately, two of the ladies we had the nearest contact with passed away very unexpectedly. We were glad to have spent meaningful time with them. We look forward to the next opportunity to offer this visiting service.

Visiting Elders at a Retirement Home