Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Children and the elderly

Posted for Darcy V Tabotabo

For many residents in nursing homes, there is very little family to visit with. Their life

remains stagnant in a constant battle of depression and boredom as they live each day in the

same monotonous way with people who are living the same lives as them. Much like in

Gawande’s book, one doctor decided to try to combat this disease, as I like to imagine it, and

built a home that allowed its residents to flourish. Having pets and plants to care for gave

residents a reason of being and a sense of importance as well as meaning. As it said in the

reading, the atmosphere changed from the moment the birds arrived at the home, giving the

residents something to laugh about as the doctor and nurses tried to wrangle the birds together.

To further improve the atmosphere, allowing these residents to do fitness classes with

middle school children would just bring out the happiness even more. The energy just from being

around youth alone would improve the well being of the residents; however, an even larger

impact would be their opportunity to pass along their wisdom and even serve as a mentor for

them. For many of these residents, these children can be just as good as grandchildren who some

may not see or let alone have. Interacting with these children would be able to open the

residents’ minds and allow them to exercise themselves mentally. I believe it shouldn’t just stop

at fitness classes. It should be carried on to another program where children can just interact,

whether that be with homework or just talking. This type of program would help the elderly have

a higher sense of meaning just as taking care of animals and plants.

Not only would this be good for residents, but the children as well. In our current culture

today, there are very few three generation household, and grandchild-grandparent relations aren’t

as valued as they once were. This would give children the opportunity to learn wisdom from

their elders while also giving them knowledge of another time in history. Children benefit seeing

first hand how these residents interact with them and learning from them. Fitness classes alone

would show children how important their mobility and energy is while being able to give that

energy to the residents.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3285008/Pensioner- playmates-amazing-

daycare-nursing- home-youngsters- sing-color- read-elderly.html#v- 8421848498702991412

This is a video about a nursing home with an attached pre-school! You can truly see how

much it means to the residents to have the youth around them.

I have volunteered at nursing homes for a long period of time. Over time, I have seen

residents develop and open up each time I visit. I always try to ask life advice and learn from

them, which not only helps me, but gives them a sense of mentorship and belonging. Their while

dispositions change through this one hour of contact each week. Just by seeing this, I could only

imagine the impact children would have on residents as they bring their energy to them.

I feel as though Atul Gawande is a strong advocate for this because of his strong belief

that what the elderly need is independence and autonomy. This type of interaction would help

them feel more youthful while also giving them an opportunity to mentor those younger. This

would give them more of a prospect to be independent as well as make them feel like they are

giving to something larger than themselves.

1 comment:

  1. "I have volunteered at nursing homes for a long period of time. Over time, I have seen residents develop and open up each time I visit. I always try to ask life advice and learn from them" - good for you! Good for them! So many sad older people really just need someone to express a little human interest and warmth, to say (in the words of John Prine's song) "Hello in there..."