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Makayle Hill Comm 2150 9:00-9:50 November 27, 2017

Service Learning Paper


Service Organization
The contact information is as follows:
Beverley Seal
Manager of Legacy Retirement Residence
1617 Temple Ln, South Jordan, Utah 84095
Phone: 801-201-5088
Email: info@legacyretiresouthjordan.com
Project
The philosophy that Legacy Retirement and its associates are committed to is a superior,

personalized customer service in an environment that is inviting, caring and hospitable (Legacy

Retirement website; Our philosophy). At Legacy, they truly are committed to their philosophy.

The organization is filled with loving and inviting people who genuinely want what is best for

their residents. The provide optimum care and spend one-on-one time with all they encounter,

whether it be in the hallways or activity areas they have all over the building, the workers there

stop to visit with them to create a personal touch, which is a heart-to-heart connection with

those they serve.

The project I participated in was spending time with the residents at Legacy, more

specifically, the Alzheimers unit. They have a well planned out schedule filled with activities

for everyone to participate in, its all optional so the residents dont have to join unless they want

to. These activities include BINGO, manicures, Creative Conversations, puzzles, Scramble,

balloon volleyball, and other special activities such as musical performances. These activities are

great for the elderly there. It is a way to get out of their room and interact with others around

them. Many residents are antisocial and have a hard time making new friends. After experiencing

a major change in their lives, its hard and takes time for them to adapt; these activities help them
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to break the ice and feel more comfortable around others. The people I worked with now have a

very special place in my heart. They kind, thoughtful, and sincere. Yet, they are lonely, so when

they have visitors they get very excited. They feel left behind and as if no one cares about them.

The employees at Legacy work very hard to make sure the residents dont feel lonely. They

incorporate into their ethic a personal touch which as mentioned above, is a concept where the

employees take time to be with the residents. They listen to their stories and talk to them as if

they have been friends their whole life. The hope for this concept is that the residents will feel

more comfortable and their happiness levels will be increased.

Cultural Group

At Legacy, most residents are Caucasian and very religious. The main faith practiced

there is LDS, however, even though there are some who are not religious they are still very

respectful towards those who are. It is a very open community where the residents can do

whatever they would like. Even though there are a few residents from different states, most of

the elderly come from Utah, more specifically, South Jordan, Riverton, Salt Lake City, and

occasionally, Sandy/Midvale area. This information indicates that many of them came from a

rich community, but due to their physical and mental limitations, they have become very humble.

The money that they possibly might have had is not much of an interest to them anymore. The

residents at Legacy may not remember much due to their mental limitation, however, they know

they are not well, so they try to enjoy their life the best that they can despite the circumstances.
Makayle Hill Comm 2150 9:00-9:50 November 27, 2017

Challenges

One of the challenges that was brought up many times while working at Legacy was

trying not to get frustrated and lose my patience, although, it almost never happened. The

challenging part is when there are residents who are rude and disrespectful of those around them.

They are not usually disrespectful to the workers but more so to the other residents. And it

requires a lot of patience trying to help them see why they need to be kind, despite what they are

going through personally. Another challenge was helping the residents not be frustrated with

themselves. The people there are very sweet, however, they forget many things because of their

Alzheimers. Moreover, while talking to them, they will suddenly forget what theyre saying and

become frustrated with themselves. It is an unfortunate thing to witness, but it gives everyone

around them an opportunity to exercise patience and help them try to remember. It gives the

volunteers a better understanding and really changes ones perspective on life. Through these

experiences, Ive learned to really cherish the events I experience in life because its possible one

day I may not remember them. Volunteering at Legacy has also made me want to be kind to

everyone around me because when were older we want to remember the happy times not the

times when people were mean to us or vice versa. The final challenge I experienced was trying to

get out of my comfort zone. Starting conversations or confronting people is not my strong suit so

having to talk to people was a bit of a challenge for me but this opportunity helped me overcome

that.

Theory

The theory that can be applied to this service project is the theory of Proxemics. This

theory can be broken up into four sections, Intimate Distance, Personal Distance, Social

Distance, and Public Distance, which can all be applied to the residents at Legacy.
Makayle Hill Comm 2150 9:00-9:50 November 27, 2017

Intimate Distance: The closest bubble of space surrounding a person. Entry into this

space is acceptable only for closest friends and intimate partners.

Personal Distance: The other person is at arms-length. Only ritualized touch is typical.

Usually reserved for friends and family.

Social Distance: The space in which people feel comfortable conducting routine socal

interactions with acquaintances as well as strangers.

Public Distance: The area of space beyond which people will perceive interactions as

impersonal and relatively anonymous. Its the distance of the lecture hall, mass meetings,

and public speeches.

Many of the residents at Legacy are at different stages. For example, residents who are new to

Legacy belong to the Intimate Distance. They are reserved and do not let many people into their

bubble, which is only acceptable for closest friends and intimate partners. Even residents who

have lived at Legacy longer still remain in this zone, depending on who they surround

themselves with. The longer a resident is there the more their use of space is expanded. They

start to go to social gatherings that Legacy offers to those who are interested, therefore

expanding into their Social Distance. Being at these activities also provides them a way to

expand their Personal Distance by creating new friendships and interacting more with others who

live at Legacy as well.

Analysis

Of the many people I met at Legacy there are a few whom follow this theory. A woman

named Shirley was very hard to communicate with when I first volunteered at Legacy. Her

Social and Personal Distances were very reserved. She refused to have a conversation or even get
Makayle Hill Comm 2150 9:00-9:50 November 27, 2017

to know anyone, even after being there for many years. She was definitely a challenge, especially

because I wanted to help her and get to know her. After constantly talking to her about my life

and sharing information with her, she finally started to open up. She is still very reserved, and

that is okay. That is simply who she is. However, she began talk more and share her likes and

dislikes, therefore expanding her Social Distance and allowing me to get to know her. There are

many at Legacy who are similar to Shirley, but there are also many who are the opposite. For

example, Ernie is very open. His use of space is very large and is always welcoming. He is

someone who loves people and loves to get to know as many people as he possibly can. He does

not let his zones confine him and is willing to share whatever question you have, all you have to

do is ask. Even his Intimate Distance, or his bubble, is large and he shares things, even if you

are not interested in hearing them!

In conclusion, the people of Legacy each have these zones, however, some of their

distances within each zone are more expanded than others. Using Shirley as an example, she is

closed off and her Social Distance is very small; unlike Ernie, who has no limitations and who

has a rather large distance no matter was zone it is.

Reflection

I was very excited for this service project. I had always wanted to do service for those in

my community, but I never found the motivation to necessarily do it. This class provided a way

for me to leave my comfort zone and really connect with people. I had to reach out and talk to

them in order to know more about them. It was quite challenging at first but now it almost seems

natural. All in all, I was very excited for this opportunity. My only apprehension was I was afraid

I wouldnt be able to connect with anyone there. I was nervous that none of them would want to

talk to me and instead would want to mind their own business. However, after volunteering there
Makayle Hill Comm 2150 9:00-9:50 November 27, 2017

I realized just how lonely they are. Some genuinely dont want to converse, which is fine, but

there were many who loved to talk and share their stories. They were lonely and had no one to

spend time with. I had another resident named Shirley as well (there are 3 different Shirleys at

Legacy) whom had confided in me. She shared how she didnt feel loved anymore by her family

since they were all leaving for the holidays and would not be stopping by for Christmas. She

continued to say how they never visit anymore and she feels like a burden. This experience gave

me an opportunity to reach out to her and share with her how much she meant to me. I have only

known her for a short time, but she has become such a special person to me, especially after this

experience.

This experience helped all my apprehensions change. I was no longer nervous and as

long as I continue to love them and be there for them then thats all that matters. It doesnt matter

if they like me or not, I had decided in that moment that I would be there for Shirley and anyone

else who needed to feel loved.

Volunteering at Legacy helped me understand and appreciate the generations before me, whether

it be my grandparents, or my parents. It made me realize just how important it is to show your

love and gratitude to our parents and elderly, especially because they do get lonely and they need

us as much as we need them. It made me realize that the elderly tend to be forgotten about,

especially once they go to a retirement home, which made me want to spend more time with

everyone, especially those closest to me and it helped me set my priorities straight.

The Proxemics Theory helped to not push people out side of their comfort zone just for

my own gain. I wanted to learn more about these people but some of them didnt want to share

and because of this theory I was more aware of what their zones and distances were and to not

push them, therefore creating a more comfortable environment.


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I feel like by volunteering here I was able to help some of the residents feel more

appreciated, but it also helped me be more open-minded and kinder to those around me. It gave

me a new perspective and appreciation for life.

My definition for civic engagement before the semester was just to help the community

out in some way. I didnt think much of it. But after helping at Legacy I feel more of a need to

not only help people but to really be there for them if they need anything. I have more of a desire

to help people emotionally, not just physically.

From this experience I have more of a desire to sincerely help people. I also want to be

kinder and more considerate towards those around me. I feel like from this experience Im more

understanding and have more patience. I have loved doing this service project. I love the people I

worked with and I will continue to work with them because this experience truly has changed my

life for the better. I have more compassion towards the people around me and in this world, I

believe that is something everyone needs.


Makayle Hill Comm 2150 9:00-9:50 November 27, 2017

References

Legacy Retirement Residence

http://www.legacyretire.com/our-philosophy/

Proxemic Theory by Edward T. Hall, Page 44 of Course Textbook