Intergenerational Index
The Grandfriends Project -- A Program Creating Friendships Across the Generations Martin Kimeldorf, the author

Chapter Three -- Rules, Regs & Cautions


In this chapter, you will learn about the many rules and regulations or the protocols to follow when working in a care center. This is especially important when working in a nursing home where you'll come in contact with people who have health problems or fragile health. Generally, these rules will apply to those seniors who live in assisted care facilities or nursing homes. However, you'll find that the rules and precautions are good practices which can apply any time you visit someone at their home or in the community at large.

These rules are so important that you are asked to share them with your teachers and guardians. Later, if you should choose to volunteer or work in this field, you will be able to write on the application or resume: "Trained in professional and safe protocols for working with elder residents in care facilities." The story of Paul illustrates how the skills you learn in the Grandfriend Project may serve you in other parts of your life.


Normally, Vincent and Elvira were to take care of the yard themselves, but recently the front lawn hadn't been cut in days and the garbage and newspapers were collecting in piles. Paul went over to visit and found out they both had been sick for over a month with the flu. He asked them why the illness lasted so long since most colds last about 2 weeks. Elvira said she was getting real nervous, wondering if she'd ever get over her cough. Vincent said he finally figured it out. Each week his grandchildren would visit and each week their cold stayed or got worse. Then he realized that the grandchildren probably had picked up lots of germs at the day care center. From now on, he was going to ask his family and anyone else to wash their hands as soon as they came in. Vincent jokingly pointed to the washroom and Paul got the hint.

Vincent had shown Paul how to carve chains in wood using only a pocket knife. As a result, Paul had always wanted to pay back the kindness so he offered to work in the yard. Vincent accepted Paul's gesture and to this day Paul still washes his hands before going over.

Oh, by the way, Vincent and Elvira got over their colds and didn't have as many problems the next flu season.


People living in care facilities often receive help in planning their diet or eating their meals. They may get assistance with taking medication and personal hygiene. Many people use wheelchairs or walkers to enable them to be more mobile. All of the staff involved in helping with these programs follow certain protocols or rules. As a result, you must make sure that your efforts support the efforts of the staff. Just like the staff and other volunteers, you must follow precautionary safety rules or regulations. By studying the rules and suggestions in this chapter and by listening carefully to the on- site training you may receive, you will increase your skill in working with elder people.

You'll become aware that many residents have dietary or food restrictions. Consequently, they must eat only certain foods. Other people may need your assistance with eating. And everyone enjoys sharing their fond memories of the foods they have enjoyed in the past.

When people get older they often become more susceptible to colds. They often find it more difficult to get over a cold. There is also the danger that a cold or flu can turn into something life-threatening. This is the main reason you must be extremely careful about not bringing germs into any care facility. In a word, you need to wash you hands thoroughly and be aware of the universal precaution about bodily fluids. In fact, you may choose not to visit at all when you are feeling sick yourself. These practices will be covered in more detail in the assignment that follows.

You'll also want to learn the proper way to assist people in wheelchairs. You'll master the art of locking the wheels, assembling or collapsing a chair, and the best way of offering assistance. You will find these skills come in handy many times in your life.

You'll also learn about the social services residents receive and what to watch out for in terms of neglect. Along these lines, you'll be told how to demonstrate the proper etiquette and respect towards people living in shared quarters. For instance, it is essential to knock on doors before entering, even when the door is open. Knocking and waiting to be invited in shows respect for people and their possessions.


If possible, the lessons in this chapter will be coordinated with on-site training in a care facility. In this way you'll get to combine facts and information with hands-on training. In addition, the following worksheet contains most of the rules and protocols practiced by professionals who provide services to older people. Assignment #3 -- Rules and Suggestions covers rules and suggestions or protocols in the areas of diet, preventing infection, wheelchair usage, and social services.

The rules listed in Assignment #3 are so important you'll be asked to review them with a teacher or guardian. This oral review gives you a chance to interpret things in your own words. As you explain them to another person, this will help you remember the rules. Then later, if you ever interview for a job at a nursing home, you'll feel confident about describing your training experiences.

In the next chapter, you'll be introduced to effective communication techniques. These will be used when you eventually do an in-depth interview with your grandfriend. You might want to think ahead and consider questions you would find interesting to pose to your grandfriend.
[Note--only selected chapters are included online after this chapter]

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Martin Kimeldorf,
© 1999
All Rights Reserved.
Amby Duncan-Carr,
page designer
Material from both THE GRANDFRIENDS PROJECT, A Program Creating Friendships Across The Generations and the companion piece, PROJECT LEADER'S GUIDE FOR THE GRANDFRIENDS PROJECT, A Program Creating Friendships Across The Generations is reproduced here with the permission of the publisher, Fairview Press. Printing or downloading a single copy of this document for personal use is permitted; teachers may reproduce this document for use in a single classroom, only. Transmission in any form or further duplication is prohibited without the express written consent of the author. In addition, any use of the document code, itself, requires the written permission of the web page designer.

Kimeldorf Bibliography
Amby's Resources
Kimeldorf Autobiography

© 1999   Amby Duncan-Carr   All Rights Reserved.

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