5Q :: ‘The Bucket List’ more than just a movieIn the Rob Reiner film “The Bucket List,” Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman’s terminally ill characters do a little globetrotting. This inspired one Minnesota man.
In the Rob Reiner film “The Bucket List,” Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman’s terminally ill characters do a little globetrotting.
They have one goal in mind: Cross off every entry on their bucket lists, which are basically things to do before they “kick the bucket.”
While some were exotic (visiting Stonehenge or seeing pyramids in Egypt), some were attainable on any budget, like laughing until they cry.
Now, one Minnesotan has made it his goal in life to help people cross off some of their entries before they pass away.
We asked Tim Lundmark of the Bucket List Foundation a couple questions about his intriguing project:
Budgeteer: Where did you get the idea for this foundation — after watching the film of the same name?
Lundmark: I started working at a nursing home in September of 2008.
I met a resident there, and we quickly became friends.
There was not a day that went by he was not coming in and out of my office.
He had a routine where he would go to specific places throughout the nursing home. He would stop and visit many of the staff members, and everyone was touched by this great man.
They were filled with such joy when he was around.
He had the most wonderful laugh and smile, which always brightened my day.
I can truly say he was the brightest point in my day. He passed away in 2009 on Thanksgiving Day. I still wish he would come to my office to sit and listen to music with me. He was the most enlightened man I had ever met.
He achieved what many Taoists strive for, living and thinking like a child. It is children who are so peaceful and simple in their outlook on life.
They have not yet been filled with the propaganda of an American Dream, and corporate brainwashing. They hold no judgment and find joy in the simple things.
Dale had reached these achievements. He lived for the simple joys in life, like his 10:30 a.m. soda and 1:30 p.m. commissary trip.
These things, along with his simple routines, made him happy.
When he came into my office, he would sit down and listen to music.
He was amused with my computer and often asked me to show him pictures of various things like cars he used to own.
He was funny to talk to, because he was so random in his thought process.
He had a mental illness which caused him to be … OCD about his daily activities. I miss our conversations.
Like all my sad emotions, I chose to not deal with them.
This was particularly hard because I just thought he would be around forever. His death was so quick — he was diagnosed with cancer and it spread so fast. He just kept on deteriorating.
When he could no longer walk on his own, he spent much of his time in bed. I can’t even imagine how hard that was for him.
He had one wish: to not die alone. I would bet he was afraid of the unknown, and wanted someone to be by his side. I feel guilty and wish I was there to fulfill his wish.
His passing is my reason for starting the Bucket List Foundation.
The foundation will do many good things for our elderly, but one of our main goals is to ensure no one dies alone.
Perhaps I feel if I can provide others with this important human need, I can shed this intense guilt I feel over letting my best friend down.
I call him my best friend because I have never met a friend who cared for me so unconditionally, and I was allowed to be me without the fear of being judged.
I think another reason I do not deal with my sad feelings over this is because I want the wonderful memory of knowing him to never leave my mind.
I am not only afraid of having to deal with the sadness over his death, but I am also afraid to have his memory fade.
The “Bucket List” aspect of the foundation was inspired by the movie.
I just love the idea of being able to fulfill people’s dreams prior to passing away. I don’t want those we serve to pass with any regrets.
We will collect donations to improve the resident’s quality of life, by providing them with basic things like a television, clothes or items to improve their living conditions.
The Bucket List Foundation will also have volunteers who will go into participating nursing homes and spend one-on-one time with a resident at least once a week.
This one-on-one attention is crucial for the resident’s wellbeing: Nobody wants to be alone.
The Bucket List Foundation will improve the quality of life for those residents who are lonely.
I want to state one more time the most important thing for me is to ensure no one dies alone.
What kind of reach are you looking at for it, statewide or nationwide? And will it be open to anyone over a certain age?
We are starting statewide. Our goal is to go nationwide. We will be serving those who live in nursing homes and are receiving palliative care.
There are 6 million people who fall into this care. Palliative care is [when] a doctor has said it is not in their best interest to cure, just try to manage. There are no age limits.
If you do get the necessary funding for the Bucket List Foundation, how will it work, exactly? Will there be an application process for participants, or will they be nominated somehow?
We will go around to nursing homes and see if they want to participate.
The foundation’s president, Rebekah Elling, is a social worker at Mission Nursing Home, and our director of volunteers, Heide Larsen, is its director of nursing.
They both agree nursing homes are short-staffed and underfunded, and would be grateful for our services.
There would be an application to fill out by the nursing home social worker or a family member.
Will all granted wishes come directly from the foundation, or will there be a website where people can donate their time or resources to help out with those you’re unable to pay for?
Fiscally the foundation will rely on grants and donations. This money source will allow us to fulfill “bucket list” dreams.
I will give you an example: Let’s say someone’s bucket list had on it going to see the Grand Canyon.
The foundation would pay to send the resident, the volunteer, family member and, if necessary, a volunteer nurse.
The volunteer will be the one who has been visiting the resident.
The situation as far as who goes would depend on various conditions, but the volunteer and/or a family member should be there to share in the experience.
The foundation will pay all costs.
The volunteers would need to fill out an application, be trained by our staff and pass a background test before going into a nursing home.
We hope we will find people who want to donate their time for a great experience for the resident as well as the volunteer.
I must say again the foundation will run solely on the support of grants and donations
If someone’s reading this and interested in helping you out, what’s the best way to do so?
If anyone is interested in donating or applying to be a volunteer, please contact me at email@example.com. Our website is www.the-bucket-list-foundation.org.