I believe that play is very important no matter what the age. In the children’s hopital I worked at I remember a young girl about 12 yrs old who had a stroke and wasn’t able to move her left side. She loved music so a few of us nurses got together and held her up from under her arms and her back and we all danced around in a circle. We enjoyed ourselves and the young girl had a ball being able to move to her music. A 6 yr old girl, who had cancer, would drag her mom who would drag the child’s IV pole, down the hallway every day to the playroom no matter how weak or tiered or sick the child was. I took care of a 10 yr old boy who had a severe head injury from being hit by a car while he was riding his 3 wheeled ATV. He couldn’t function very well and couldn’t talk very well but put him in front of a video game and he smiled, moved his body to the things in the game, and even yelled at the game. He was always in much better spirits after playing then he had been before as were all the kids after thier play time. In the nursing home I worked at the elderly people would play bingo, card games, or have dances, sing alongs with musicians that would come in, or play with the dogs that would come a few days a month. This really helped many people’s spirits and most felt much better after these things. These didn’t constiture play as at the children’s hospital but these people still got the same benefits. They forgot their problems and could relax for a while. Play lets an elderly person live one more day in the nursing home. Play lets a 6 yr old be able to take one more dose of chemotherapy that she knows is going to make her sick to her stomach. Play lets a brain injured child be able to have a little bit of fun while he is trying to get his eye-hand coordination back. Play lets us get through the hard parts of living with out giving up. Now I work as a home health nurse in a small town that only has one home health care co. for the elderly. My days are hectic and I hardly have time to see all my patients let alone my family. One day after changing a dressing on a particularly lonely patient I felt sorry for her and I told her I would stay and play a few card games with her. We had lots of fun and after words we were both smiling and happy. My day went well after that as I was not as stressed out and was in a better mood for all my paients who also seemed to be in better moods that day. Hmm, maybe I’ll try playing card games with my boss.
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