I called a few nursing homes ahead of time and Majbritte Kos was kind enough to give me access to the nursing home at the Lokalcenter Holme og Skåde. I had requested some elderly couples that resided at the home, so it was really great because she already had some in mind for me and showed me them immediately.
I talked to two different couples. One was Lissa and Orla, an elderly couple who had been together for seven years. Orla originally moved into the nursing home shortly after the two met, and Lissa followed soon after.
Although the two make a great match, they live in separate rooms. Lissa often visits Orla and comes and goes as she pleases. Lissa has Alzheimer's, so they cannot live in the same room, as she will sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and not know where she is.
Majbritte also told me that Lissa is quite the independent woman. She often has coffee in her own wing of the nursing home, but because she has Alzheimer's, she will sometimes forget that she's had coffee and so she will come and join Orla when he sits down to drink. I thought this was kind of cute, although very sad. My grandfather has Alzheimer's Disease and so I am familiar with this kind of behavior.
I also visited shortly with Alfred and Viola in another part of the hospital. Viola's husband died a few years ago, but she met Alfred in the nursing home. I think it's a very sad thing to be lonely when your spouse dies, so it made me very happy to see that some of the nursing home patients had found love and companionship there.
It was quite difficult making pictures in the nursing home. The access was great, but the older generation often does not speak English. I've come across this a few times in my studies here, but it was overwhelming in the nursing home. It was funny because many of the patients talked to me as if I understood Danish, even though I kept telling them I couldn't tell what they were saying. We got along well, though. As I had coffee with a few of the patients, they frequently said "skål!" to me, as I told them that was one of the few Danish words I knew (it means cheers). They also sang me the Danish national anthem, which I found humorous.
It is very interesting dealing with people who you do not share a common language with. I've had to deal with this more and more lately. It's quite scary at first, but I think I am slowly getting better at communicating with people who don't speak English. I think that will be one of the great lessons I learn while I am here in Denmark.
I also followed Lissa and Orla on my "Day in the Life" assignment this week, which I will be posting later on in the week. It is a longer-form assignment of 5-6 images.