Tag Archives: assisted living

Organizing a Nursing Home Program

a-nursing-homeThis past Wednesday, we met together with a few other homeschooling families and put on a program at a local nursing home. We had a 30 – 45 minute time slot, so the children took turns playing instruments, singing, dancing, and reading scripture. When they had finished, they had about ten minutes to walk around and talk to the residents. The residents really seemed to enjoy it.

Organizing a program like that may seem like a lot of work, but it didn’t take much time at all. This is all I did:

1. First, I called the nursing home to set up a time. Wednesday was their best day, and the morning worked well for us.

2. I then sent out an email to homeschooling families we know and asked if any of their children would like to participate. If so, what would they be interested in doing? Would they want to do a solo performance or sing with the group? The children could also recite a poem or read a story they wrote.

3. Next I compiled the responses into a list of who would be doing what. I decided to have our group perform in age order, as it’s harder for little ones to wait for their turn. We started off with Luke, age 5, singing “I Had a Little Turtle” and ended with Andrew, age 16, singing “Puttin’ On the Ritz”.

4. I included a group song (“Jesus Loves Me”) at the beginning and another at the end (“This Little Light of Mine”). I had a few other group songs planned, just in case we had more time to fill.

5. That’s it!¬† I printed out my list a few times and gave it to the other moms when we met at the nursing home. Some of the performers were a little nervous, but they did a good job. All in all, it was an easy activity to plan, a good experience for the children, and a blessing for the residents.

Photo by Bill in Ash Vegas

Our friend, Mrs. McCall

For more than two years, my children and I made weekly visits to an area nursing home to see our friend, Virginia McCall.

We didn’t know Mrs. McCall before starting our visits. I had wanted the children to be involved in a service activity, so I called the activities director of the nursing home and asked if there was someone we could “adopt” – someone who needed extra company. And then we met Mrs. McCall.

At first, I thought this would just be an opportunity for the children to do a good deed, and in the process learn how to communicate to older adults, especially those in poor health. What I didn’t realize when we started, though, was how much Mrs. McCall would bless us.

Often when we visited, the children would tell her about their week and what they’d been doing. Sometimes they would show her a new toy or photos from our latest trip. But when we started asking about her childhood, we discovered something new, as she shared with us a history rich in hard work and strong values.

One day this past fall, when we went for our usual visit, the receptionist at the front desk told us Mrs. McCall was in the hospital – she had suffered a stroke. She was doing well for a few days, then took a turn for the worst, so I loaded up the children and we headed out to see her. When we arrived, she wasn’t responding. I talked to her a little, and each of the children held her hand and said “hello.” It was actually good-bye, because about an hour after we left, she passed away. I believe she was waiting to hear from the children, and then she was ready to go.

Mrs. McCall lived a good, full life to the age of 92.  While my original intention for visiting had been to enrich her life, I discovered through our visits that she had greatly enriched ours. By being with her, my children learned compassion, friendship, and generosity; by talking with her, they learned thankfulness, diligence, and contentment. Thank you, Mrs. McCall.