I have always thought that the elderly get a rough deal in this country. There is little respect for the elderly, once they pass their 'best before' date we want put them away and leave them to disintegrate. The sad thing is their wisdom, experience and knowledge could be such a gift to us young folk. You always hear people say that Christmas is a time for children and I agree that it is a special and magical holiday during childhood. The thing is, I often feel like I'm still a child - at least it doesn't take much for me to find that inner five-year-old. I doubt that I'll ever lose that feeling, so I don't see why we can't share some of the magic of Christmas with the older generation. After all we all need to feel some magic, feel like someone's listening to us and that someone cares. I've felt like this for a long time and have always wanted to do some sort of volunteering in aged care, as I've written about before in the 10 things I want to do in my lifetime.
These were the thoughts going through my mind when I decided to call a local aged care facility about a month ago to see if the girls and I could visit someone who may not have visitors during this time of year. They were very eager for us to come. Today we went to do a tour and meet some of the residents who we will be spending time with. I was so proud of my girls who gave everyone they met a big wave and an even bigger smile.
I'm really looking forward to getting to know some of the residents better and maybe even forging a longer lasting relationship with them. It's an exciting thought to think the girls and I will be able to give back to the community in this way, all while hearing the wonderful tales I'm sure to be regaled with and learning a whole lot too. Although it was very sad to hear that that the home rarely receives offers from people willing to sit and visit, which is why after today I've decided to not just make it a Christmas visit but something we'll do on a regular basis.
One lady I met spends a lot of time helping the other residents and volunteering at the local church. Sadly she rarely receives visitors and is often very lonely. When we were introduced and heard that we'd be back to visit for longer and play Scrabble, she squeezed my hand and touched the girls' cheeks and said "God bless". Such a simple act, so much warmth.