When planning a trip to a nursing home or assisted living facility to see a loved one, the question of whether or not to include children may surface. Of course, the individual situation will need to be considered, but it can be a fun and rewarding experience for both the child and the resident.
As with any excursion, preparation is the key to having a successful visit between an elderly loved one and a child. Begin the planning by discussing expectations with the child. Explain any health conditions in a way the child will understand – whether the loved one will look different, or have difficulty remembering faces and names. The arrival of a child in a facility can be an exciting event for all the residents, so the child should be prepared for the attention. Many of the residents may want to talk or interact with the child, so discuss how to react to that attention.
The other part of preparing for a child’s visit is to plan an activity. This will depend on the abilities and interests of both the child and the senior. Some children might enjoy playing a card game with the senior, others might like to read a story aloud. By the middle of elementary school age, a child could prepare some questions and interview the senior. These are just a few suggestions to help decide on an appropriate activity.
OurSeniors.org sends volunteers to nursing homes and assisted living facilities to provide comfort through visitation. It can be especially heartwarming for children to experience the visitations too. Visit a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility, then help us to help somebody who feels isolated.