What I Found Along the Roadside Just for Betty

by Kareen King on April 18, 2014

I sat on the floor beside her bed once again, sharing my photo captures of the week. Betty oohed and aahed, putting in a request before I left.

“Could you find something special along the roadside for me?” she asked.

“Of course I will, Betty,” I promised.

“Please come back. Don’t forget. I love you.”

A week later, I delivered as promised. As usual, I sat on the floor beside her bed and used my iPad to flip from one photo to another. With each photo I added, “This was just for you, Betty.”

“You are my whole family right now,” she declared after our photo adventure concluded.

The following are just a few of the photos I found along the roadside just for Betty:

An Egret Just for Betty - Photo by Kareen King, Founder of The Golden Experience® An Egret Just for Betty – Photo by Kareen King, Founder of The Golden Experience® A Blue Heron in Flight Just for Betty - Photo by Kareen King, Founder of The Golden Experience® A Blue Heron in Flight Just for Betty – Photo by Kareen King, Founder of The Golden Experience® Blue HeronJust for Betty - Photo by Kareen King, Founder of The Golden Experience® Blue Heron Just for Betty – Photo by Kareen King, Founder of The Golden Experience®

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Die Laughing or Live Trying

by Kareen King on April 4, 2014

I asked a group of residents in a skilled nursing community if anyone had died laughing before.

“Just once,” the resident “comedian” retorted. Realizing I had tapped into a goldmine of witticisms and one-liners, I declared to the man who was sitting in his wheelchair, “Why, you’re a sit-down comedian!”

“No I’m not,” he quipped as he stood to his feet in an instant. “That was the kicker,” he added.

Everyone roared with delight.

Later, when thanking him for attending he remarked, “I felt uncomfortable.”

I probed him a bit till I discovered the discomfort was the flood of acknowledgement over the knack for comedy he knew he’d had since he was a young boy. I had even included his name with all the other famous comedians that were noted by the residents.

“I was overwhelmed with what was within me,” he remarked, eyes welled with tears.

He then voiced concern that the words might not flow as easily, should he have another occasion to be put on the spot again.

“Remember the rules of comedy improv,” I reassured him. “Be willing to take a risk, jump in, and let the chips fall where they may. What really matters is that you brightened the room today.”

He nodded his head, as if relieved.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all die laughing?

 “The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” – Albert Einstein

Did I Make You Smile? - Photo by Kareen King, Founder of The Golden Experience® Did I Make You Smile? – Photo by Kareen King, Founder of The Golden Experience®

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Venting Your Spleen

March 24, 2014

To vent one’s spleen is to express anger. Sometimes it presents as displacement of anger, such as kicking the door when you’d rather yell at someone. The phrase was introduced to me last week by an older adult during a St. Patrick’s Day creative engagement gathering with a group of residents. It was used while […]

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How to Be a Good Aunt and What That Has to Do With Gerontology

March 9, 2014

I am playing catch-up after exhibiting and presenting for an AGHE (Association for Gerontology in Higher Education) conference in Denver, Colorado. During my stay, I opted to spend the nights with my brother Mark’s family in Erie, Colorado, a 35-minute commute from Denver. I also brought along my dear friend, Darlene, as a traveling companion […]

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KC Youth Volunteers Learn About Communicating With Older Adults With Dementia

February 14, 2014

I recently presented an educational concert for the Youth Advisory Board of the YMCA of Greater Kansas City. The event was set up by Leanne Mersmann, a team leader for Youth Volunteer Corps of Greater Kansas City. During the presentation, I shared some ways to connect with older adults who live with Alzheimer’s or symptoms […]

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Small Ways to Make a Big Difference in Long-Term Care

January 31, 2014

Where to begin? With each passing day springs new conversations, insights, beautiful nature images, disappointments, challenges, and more. My scarcity of blogging over the past couple years certainly hasn’t been because there’s nothing to write about, but because there’s not enough time or mental energy left to record it all! Each day is much too […]

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The Voice Auditions With Nursing Home Residents As Judges

January 17, 2014

My youngest child, Kathryn, has been home between semesters at KU. I invited her to spend a day with me at Wellsville Retirement Community to participate in what I do and to share her music with some of the residents in their rooms. This was also to help her decide whether or not to pursue […]

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Topsy Turvy Little Red Riding Hood – A Tale To Bring in the New Year

December 31, 2013

Once upon a time there was a little girl who was sent on a mission by her mother to take a basketful of goodies to her grandmother’s house. Little Red and her mother were excellent bakers, so they filled the basket with lots cookies -  chocolate, ginger bread, sugar, and lemon cookies. They also filled […]

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Merry Christmas Via Zoo Lights!

December 25, 2013
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“Twas The Night Before Christmas” – Performance of a Lifetime

December 14, 2013

I have the privilege of interacting on a weekly basis with some very wonderful individuals in long-term care communities. Two of those individuals are Jackie and Edna, the storytellers in the performance that I videotaped during Wellsville Retirement Community’s 2013 Volunteer Christmas Party in Wellsville, KS. The performance was a last-minute decision by WRC’s Activity […]

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