Our goal is to be helpful and be a bright ray of sunshine into someone’s life. We should value all ages in our communities, from the very young to the very old. But the oldest old in nursing homes and assisted living facilities often feel isolated and excluded. Developing a stronger connection between these older adults and their community can have tremendous benefits for young and old.
While a single visit to a nursing home is a valuable experience for children and will brighten the day for older adults, an ongoing visitation program is most effective. One staff member in a nursing home said, “We don’t want it to be like ‘let’s go see the old people’ just like it’s a trip to the Statue of Liberty.” Our monthly trips to the Brookdale Nursing Home is where we visit, sing and dance with the guest in the memory care unit.
Even older adults with serious memory loss or cognitive limitations can still enjoy a visit, even if they don’t remember it later. Elementary-aged children often value the opportunity to make a difference in an older person’s life. They are eager to help in a nursing home once they become comfortable. They learn how to interact with people different than themselves.