When I visit my mother in her care facility, I see how children lift the spirits of the elderly. I’ve put bold type on a couple of ideas a friend of mine used with her own daughter’s visits:

I used to pick up my daughter every Wednesday from kindergarten and make the hour-long trek to see my father-in-law at his nursing home. I also went to the library in the larger town, shopped at Costco, and ran other errands during those Wednesdays. Sometimes I even brought other children with me.

I dressed my daughter in a cute outfit, often a frilly dress, and encouraged her to think of something to tell her grandfather.

On Halloween, she went in costume.

I saw this as a win-win situation on several fronts

My father-in-law got a visit from a sweet girl who loved him, was happy to bestow kisses and even sit on his lap.

frilly_ dress1


The other residents of the home got to see a pleasant child who always brought something clever with her:


  • The latest kindergarten project that I didn’t want. (I took pictures of great projects and kept those. Carolyn freely gave them away. Who can forget the time she showed up on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday wearing a top hat made out of construction paper? All her “fans” in the home told her how adorable she was.)
  •  Flowers or a piece of nature. My daughter was great with dandelions.
  • A balloon. (Who would have thought of that? The last belly laugh I got out of my father-in-law came from batting the balloon with Carolyn.)

My daughter learned that people are worth visiting and not to be afraid of the elderly or those in wheelchairs.

SONY DSCShe grew up to work in a nursing home in college and took her sweet nature for the patients with her. Once she even took time to discuss a woman’s weightier questions about life and death and eternity as a result of not being afraid.

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