I want to volunteer at nursing home w/my 5 yr old (once monthly). Maybe bring refreshments and help w/activities. Any suggestions on approach?

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We live away from my extended family and my daughter doesn’t get to interact with seniors, really. I think it would be a rewarding thing for both of us to do and foresee it as something we could continue to do as she grows up. I have been a caregiver for an elderly relative who is now deceased and my grandmother helped to raise me. I don’t want my daughter to miss out on knowing more elderly generations. Moreover, I really don’t want her to have biases against or be scared of senior citizens and people who may have physical and/or mental challenges. I thought the younger the better so that we just develop relationships. I don’t have rose-colored glasses on about this. I know it can be disturbing for young people but I really want for us to be able to look beyond all of that and perhaps build relationships with people who may be lonely.

Answers 1 to 6 of 6
First, ask the child if that is something she wants to do. I wouldn't force it. It may traumatize her, seeing wheel chairs, drooling, etc. Five yrs old is pretty young to do this. Second, ask the NH is they want you to do this. First and foremost, I would think of the child first. Just because the senior is in the NH, doesn't mean they are really nice people and that they like children. I would find another way for the child to give to the community, one that is safer and more fun for her. They are pretty impressionable at that age.
Top Answer
Contact a local Assisted Living or Independent Living. I work at an AL, we can always use help during Bingo. Some residents need someone to help follow the games and different patterns. Your daughter could sit with you and play along. OR sometimes we have a painting class; your daughter I'm sure would love to paint and you could help the residents. Call the Acitivty Director and just ask. try just an hr a week first.
I was around the elderly as a child and I have the upmost respect for them. I think it is great as long as your daughter enjoys it. My grandkids are growing up with their great grandmother and they love her.
It is such a great idea. Some Assisted Livings etc. are encouraging young groups (such as Mom groups, Scouting etc.) to have their meetings at their facilities. The elderly LOVE to see little kids, babies and animals!
Thanks for all of the feedback. Very much appreciated.The assisted living center sounds like a great idea so we can chip in on some recreational activity like bingo that is already going on.
Seniors in nursing homes are apt to pick up infections from young children. Perhaps a senior center is a better setting? Also there may be a senior far from grandchildren who would enjoy your visits and be a substitute grand. As for learning to interact with elders, your example will be the best teacher.

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