Visiting The Elderly And Putting A Smile On Their Face
One thing I remember with fondness from my childhood is visiting the elderly with my sister Deborah and my mother Sharon. We visited a number of ladies regularly and each visit was different and memorable.
We used to visit a lady called Aunty Madge. Madge Fletcher was really fun. She would always play games with us, including one where we had to pretend to be a cat and were not allowed to laugh. The first to laugh was out. We would play bored games and another game called Earth, Sky and Sea. I loved to visit Madge and really enjoyed spending time with her.
We also visited an elderly lady called Ivy. Ivy was partially death. She lived in an assisted living property and I remember always feeling tempted to pull the emergency help strings in the hallway. I never did as my mum explained what it was for but it’s one of my memories of the bungalow Ivy Holden lived in.
The thing I loved about visiting the elderly was playing games together, having hot drinks and biscuits. I loved it. As time went on, different women in my life became more fragile an old and eventually many of the ladies we visited ended up in care homes. My mum still visited her friends but I was in full time school and visited less often.
We mainly went to the care homes for special occasions like Guy fawkes. We would have pie and peas with the elderly and we always visited at Christmas to sing carols to our friends. When I was 13, we went to visit a lady called Violet Liverland. Her legs were all swollen and had a strong odour. The carers really looked after her well but I couldn’t help but feel sad because she was clearly in pain.
My mum talked to Violet about her dreams of returning home to New Zealand, something she had always wanted to do but never been brave enough to do it. Violet encouraged my mum to take the plunge and live life to the full. My parents made the decision and we migrated as a family to the other side of the world.
Moving to New Zealand was huge. I missed the ladies who had been a big part of my childhood. I never forgot them and felt a sense of sadness as each of my mum’s friends, passed on from this world. We never stopped visiting the elderly. We started to visit a local care home in New Zealand and visited those who were lonely. We sung carols, played games and ate afternoon tea together.
Since returning to live in the Uk 7 years ago, I have not really visited anyone regular in a care home. I did visit my Uncle Johnny One leg when I travelled to Yorkshire. He was in a home in Cudworth, Barnsley and would tell me the stories about how he lost his leg. Johnny passed away last year.
I no longer have any family or friends in a care homes. I would however like to take my daughter Sylvia to visit the elderly a few times a year to sing to them. I know that would be a great thing to do and it would certainly put a smile on a few faces.
Do you visit the elderly in care homes? I’d love to hear your experiences.
*This is a collaborative post.