Last fall Trinity was approached through the SD ELCA Synod by Good Samaritan Society (GSS), to participate in a pilot program of their Kin Ministry. Almon, age 87 years young, immediately came to mind when seeking someone to try the Nucleus video phone connection because of his outgoing personality. We approached his daughter, Robin (a member of our congregation), about the idea and she was supportive to the point of excited. She also knew of two family members in particular he would enjoy being able to see when he talked with them – his sister Sharon with health concerns that prevented them from visiting in person very often, and a grandson who had recently returned from serving in the army.
I had very recently completed Befriender Ministry training (Christian based, active listening) when I was paired with Almon. He is a resident of a local assisted living center and we began meeting once a month. After the Nucleus was installed for Almon, we were connecting almost daily. It was immediately obvious to me that being able to see one another gave more meaning to the connection for both of us.
He would question my appearance, making sure I was ok, and I could do the same for him. Almon quickly came up with the fun idea to add video-sharing the latest picture, game, puzzle or a seasonal decoration his family had brought to his room. He especially enjoyed entertaining us both by showing off his new musical, mechanical Santa. As a new member of Almon’s care circle, being able to connect through the Nucleus so easily and frequently enabled Almon to better remember who I was and know that I was someone with whom he could safely share both good times and bad.
Almon is truly happiest when he is in the presence of other people and Kin Ministry’s Nucleus component offers him a way to fill in many of the lonelier times of his day.
To be expected in any pilot program, it took us a little while to work out some of the technical bugs, but the Nucleus itself is ‘push one button to reach me, push two buttons to reach a family member’. A time or two I have been able to witness how special it is to add video to his calls with his sister and we are about to add his grandson to his list of connections. Almon is truly happiest when he is in the presence of other people and Kin Ministry’s Nucleus component offers him a way to fill in many of the lonelier times of his day.
Written by Debby Larson at Trinity Lutheran Church in Yankton, SD