Our Caring Kids spread some holiday cheer at Panorama's Convalescent & Rehabilitation Center on December 8th. Children sang carols as well as visited one-on-one with the residents. We started our volunteer day off with reading "Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge" written by Mem Fox to help the children know what to expect during their visit to a nursing home. Kids then took their jingle bells and their stuffed animals to visit with the residents.
The event overview:
We had an informal visit, just talking and moving to various residents with one-on-one visits. We used jingle bells as instruments for the kids and passed out holiday cards to the residents. Kids and their parents wore festive attire and tried to have their children take naps before-hand! Children also brought a stuffed animal to "introduce" to residents.
Dinner table talk:
Prior to our visit, talk to your child about what to expect during a visit to a nursing home. They will see residents in wheelchairs, there may be unfamiliar smells, and some residents may not seem responsive. Answer any questions or concerns children may have. Talk about their feelings about visiting older adults. You may also want to look at pictures of older relatives. Many older people never have visitors and spend their days alone and lonely. Why do you think this is? Do you think it's because we don't want to think about growing old? Why or why not?
Introduce the visit through books: There are many great books that can introduce your child to their visit to the nursing home including:
• A Little Something by Susan V. Bosak
• Sunshine Home by Eve Bunting
• My Grandma’s in a Nursing Home by Judy Delton
• Loop the Loop by Barbara Dugan
• Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox
• Always Gramma by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
After our visit:
Be sure to talk about what happened and how children felt. Do you think you made a difference in the lives of the residents? Why? What did you learn about older people? Do you think visiting older people is important? Why?
The questions and book recommendations are thanks to the Legacy Project’s webpage entitled. Nursing Home Residents at http://www.legacyproject.org/guides/visitnursinghomes.html.