Visiting Nursing Home Residents
By Ruth “Angell” Matteson past WCA Jr. Joey Director
Visiting nursing home residents can benefit both the young and the old. If you are thinking of visiting a nursing home, this article should give you some good information and ideas. If you have already been visiting nursing homes, then this will give you more incite for your visits.
You should value both our young and old in our communities. Developing stronger connections between these older adults and their community can have tremendous benefits for both. Elementary aged children, especially those in the fourth to the seventh grades, 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. You will learn to interact with people different than yourselves and you will learn responsibility.
While a single visit to a nursing home will be a valuable experience for you and will brighten the day for older adults, an ongoing visitation program is most effective.
Before you visit a nursing home, here are a few books you might like to read:
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;
Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox;
Always Gramma by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson;
Remember That by Lesléa Newman;
A Visit to Oma by Marisabina Russo;
Old People, Frogs an Albert by Nancy Hope Wilson
If you are going with an adult, they should talk to you about what to expect during a visit, like residents in a wheelchair, unfamiliar smells, and some residents may not be responsive to you. Talk to an adult and let them know what your feelings are, any questions you may have. Feel comfortable when you visit a nursing home. Maybe you just want to make a visit out of a clown and take a tour and if you feel comfortable, return in you clown.
- Plan a visit at least two weeks in advance. Let the activities director know you’re coming. They can often suggest the residents who would most welcome a visit. The best times to visit are generally mid-morning from 10:00-11:30 am, in the afternoon from 2:00-4:30 pm, and sometimes in the evening from 6:00-7:30 pm.
- Since visitors may be rare, the activities director will probably put your first visit on the calendar of events so that residents can look forward to it.
- Babies and toddlers who are full of grinning energy make good visitors, as do older children and teenagers. For toddlers, make sure they’ve had a nap beforehand and are fed.
- You can make the visit informal, just talking with and moving to various residents one-on-one, or you can plan to do a presentation like a short play or a series of songs (you can even invite residents to participate in familiar songs by singing along or clapping).
- Things you can do to entertain at the nursing home could be: juggling either balls or scarves, walkarounds, puppets, your favorite story book, a game, and anything you can think of that will help the time go by for the residents.
Have fun and make a difference in someone’s life.
Parts of this article were taken from an internet article by SV Bosak, www.legacyproject.org.
(Posted by N)