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The Trotte Elder Residence is not your average retirement home. True to its motto “Rooms with a View,” Trotte boasts an enviable panorama of the city of Zurich and the snow-covered Alps from its coveted location on Waidberg in the Wipkingen quarter of town. Near the Limmat river and well served by public transportation, Trotte affords its elderly residents a lively and warm atmosphere in individual apartments.

One of Zurich’s 27 municipal elder residences, Trotte also offers a range of activities, events and excursions in addition to plenty of social contact in the common rooms, the café restaurant and the pretty garden area, where meals may be taken in fair weather.

Jonas Huber, IT Support Professional at the IBM Research – Zurich Laboratory, spent his Centennial Day of Service at the Trotte Elder Residence and reported his experience to w3.

Q. Jonas, how did you find out about the Trotte Elder Residence, and what made you decide to contribute your Day of Service there?

Jonas Huber's Centennial Day of Service

Jonas Huber's Centennial Day of Service

A. Well, actually, my mother has worked there as a nurse for ten years, and she suggested that I accompany a group of residents on an excursion to Zurich’s Botanical Garden. She took care of informing the Trotte residents about the excursion and making the necessary arrangements. So on the one hand, I thought it would be interesting to spend a pleasant afternoon accompanying elderly persons on a nice outing, and I also got a glimpse of my mother’s working environment. It’s a completely different world than at the Lab.

Q. That sounds interesting. Tell us how you spent the day at Trotte and the Botanical Garden.

A. I arrived at Trotte in the morning and met up with my mother and the excursion participants. Originally, ten residents had signed up for it, but in the end, only five actually participated. My mother had briefed me to expect this, because sometimes the elderly people aren’t feeling well enough for an excursion on any given day. Of the five participants, two were particularly young at heart and really enjoyed the outing.

Q. Wasn’t it difficult to find topics of common interest to talk about?

A. Not at all. Our conversations were very interesting. For example, my neighbor on the bus ride told me a lot about her life and the people or family members she had known. That really broke the ice. Some of the dialect expressions she used to describe these things were only vaguely familiar to me. It’s interesting just to hear the expressions they used.

Q. In a nutshell, what was your Day of Service contribution?

A. Well, I guess I could say I gave the gift of time. That’s something we younger generation sometimes no longer have a feeling for—slowing down, taking your time. We’re always so rushed. Young people can be very impatient when they encounter elderly people in everyday situations, such as on a bus or in a tram. Elderly people do everything so much more slowly, it can seem like they’re always in the way. But spending a day with elderly people made me conscious of the value—the charm—of slowing down. It’s the opposite of my usual environment. You know, I actually admired the elderly people for their slowness. And apart from that, it’s always enriching to get a glimpse of how other people live, other age groups, other social groups, whatever. We live in a global village, after all.


Check out IBM’s Day of Service Map.

Note to IBMers: Just because the Day of Service is over, doesn’t mean you can’t still support your charity. Sign up in the On Demand Community.

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