Visiting Nursing Homes with your Grandchild

Visiting nursing homes (senior care centers)can be a wonderful way to model compassionate service to your grandchildren. It can also be a time to develop relationships with frail elders who do not have nearby family or visitors but who enjoy small children.

Because you are a gran yourself, you will likely sense when 'enough is enough' for the older people you are visiting. People on pharmaceutical medications are quite apt to find anything but short visits fairly challenging with small children.

Here are a few great ideas gleaned from friends on the web:

Make a Scent Box to take to an older friend's place-- this could work for an apartment with a patio or balcony, or for a nursing home resident who has access to a sunny yard. Use a 'window box' type plastic planter and plant, with your grandchild, some delightfully scented plants. Stick in one or two small ornamental plant decorations. Grow one (or many) for yourself so that your grandchild can experience the same lovely fragrances as well. The essential oils in the fragrant plants will perk up whoever receives the gift.

Take your grandchild in to the nursing home for a special event- prepare a little song if your grandchild likes to 'perform' by singing or whatever. Colour a picture. Learn the names of the people you visit and send them pictures in the mail. Keep the 'performances' short (10 minutes, maybe). Take small homemade gifts, such as sparkly pine-cones at Christmas time, or small handmade greeting cards.

Visiting nursing homes is a great memory-maker for you and your grandchild. Model patience, appreciation, kindness, love, compassion, interest.

Of course, watch your grandchild very carefully and remove him/her from potentially harmful situations and people.