Friday, May 10, 2013

Spreading Sunshine at the Nursing Home

Today our little Christian school divided up into three big teams to do service projects.  One team cleaned the church and school, another washed teachers' cars, and a third went to a local nursing home to sing, hand out cards, and be a blessing by simply being well-mannered, smiling children.

I am so glad my son was on the Nursing Home team.  When I found out they needed drivers and chaperones, I volunteered at once.  I've always had a fondness for the elderly, and the older I get, the more I sense their need to be around younger people, to be touched, to remember songs from their growing-up years that perhaps they haven't heard in decades.

A good number of residents joined in, singing, smiling and clapping when we sang "You Are My Sunshine" and "A Bicycle Built for Two"  as well as the beloved hymns "Amazing Grace" and "The Old Rugged Cross."   The power of music on the mind and soul always astounds me.

I wish I could show you all the pictures I took, but for the privacy of the students, I won't.  I took a few others, though.

This lady was really praising the Lord, which got me choked up, I gotta say.

One lady in a yellow pantsuit, whom I sat down beside, kept saying, "Look at the children! Aren't they pretty? Oh, so pretty, Oh, my, such pretty children."

Another lady leaned over to that lady and said (not quietly, either!) about the young male teacher playing guitar, "He's good! And good-looking, too. Mmmhhh!"  I told the teacher that later; he blushed and said, "I think everyone in that place thinks they're 17."

They all kind of speak their minds. Hey, at 92, won't you?  What have you got to lose? Ha!   One second grade boy began playing a hymn on the violin and after three mistakes, this lady says, "He's bad."   Oh, I sure hope he didn't hear that. But then his nerves settled down and he finished almost flawlessly. The same lady then said, "Oh, he's really good. For a little fella, he's something!"  What a difference a minute makes when your memory is slipping. :)

After being on the first floor, we went up where the dementia residents live. My group gathered in a common area to sing to them and hand out their cards. I went around and introduced myself and let the kids do likewise. Most of them were nervous about that. After we had sung "Sunshine"  someone near the nurses' station called out, "Encore! Encore!"  So we sang "Daisy" and "Amazing Grace" and a cute song called "Bananas" that's a doo-wop song about the love of the Lord.

Best of all were these two ladies both named Kathryn. (I don't know the spelling of their names, but
my grandma was a Kathryn, and that spelling is my favorite. I lost a baby I named Hope Kathryn, named in her honor.) It seemed like God had orchestrated me to meet these two Kathryns
just to brighten my day.  I hope it was mutual.

They clearly loved their cards from the children.

All the residents said to the kids, "Please come back and sing for us!"  One even said, "I want to have another baby, and it better be a girl!"  (Yeah. Good  luck with that, Sarai.)

I asked the kids in my car if they felt like they had made a difference in someone's day and they said yes,  And know what else? They want to go back. 


Beth Zimmerman said...

Beautiful! Can you imagine the uproar if Sarai got pregnant? LOL!

Lea Culp said...

Oh, Zoanna, that just made my heart smile. You know how I feel about the elderly and bringing cheer to their lives. Hats off to these kids and you for brightening these dear folks day. Happy Mother's Day!

Susan Kane said...

I love this post. Nursing homes appreciate seeing children, hearing music, and knowing that someone is thinking about them.

God bless you and yours.

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