Today was day one of twelve of making others happy! I was able to go with Honey Brook Presbyterian Church to carol at Tal Hai! There was a good group of people and we had songs and scripture planned for those we sang for. Seeing the smiles of everyone watching us definitely brought joy to my heart. I even got to have a conversation with two ladies who lived in the retirement home and that made my heart so happy. If this is something you're interested in doing, it's not hard at all! You can look for an organization to go with or plan one with a group of friends on your own. All you need to do is call ahead and ask the retirement home if it is okay for you to come. It is one of many ways to spread some joy!
I personally love "old" people. They always make my heart so happy and are so excited for whoever is visiting them (most of the time). I had the opportunity to volunteer with hospice care my senior year of high school and then help with bingo and caroling at my college this semester with hopes to continue! Circle K, a service club, had caroling for Elizabethtown Manor Retirement Home and I had the opportunity to organize it. I felt it was especially special at Elizabethtown Manor because I have made relationships with some of the people from bingo. Being able to come in and have them remember you and give you hugs is such a warming experience. They always say how much it means to them that we come and spend our free time with them, but I don't think they know how much it means to me. Being able to form a relationship with someone and see them around every other week makes me so happy. It makes me excited to go back and tell them how college is going and what the weather is like outside. Once I told someone I had a big test coming up and the next time I saw her she asked how it went and that made my heart so full because she remembered something so small about my life.
I feel like everyone assumes retirement homes are filled of negativity, smells and sadness that no one ever wants to visit, but it is really so much more. It has stories, smiles, love, laughter and personalities that can only be found with those people. Caroling doesn't give you all of the fun experiences that other things can give you, but it does give you their smiles and they mean the world (at least to me). The fact that I was able to take an hour out of my day to make someones day or even week, makes mine. Don't be too quick to judge retirement homes before you give it a chance. The relationships you can build will not only impact their lives, but yours tremendously.