Not just at Christmas

It has undoubtedly been a different Christmas season for me.  Not just with my mom being in Heaven, but with my dad being in his Assisted Living home.  This is his first holiday season in his new home, and it’s been interesting to experience this with him.

One of the highlights of this Christmas season has been the visits from local schools to the home.  Dad has called me a couple times, all excited, telling me about the wonderful music the children share with them.  One of them, a homeschool group, even played the piano and violins.  Dad was thrilled.  

I’ve seen many people on my Facebook page, too, posting how they’ve been visiting the local nursing and assisted living homes, caroling and bringing gifts to the residents.  Don’t get me wrong, I think this is WONDERFUL, and I know first hand how much cheer this brings the residents.

I’m stepping up on my soapbox today, though.  You know how the food shelf is always reminding people to give ALL year long–not just at the holidays?  It’s the same for the people in these homes.  Life can get very lonely for these people.  My dad is lucky–my sisters and I all call him every day to catch up.  But there’s people there who never hear from their relatives, if they even have any.  For some people, those visits by school children at Christmas are the only visits they get all year long.  

Some of my happiest moments lately, friends, have been the quiet ones with my dad.  Sitting next to him in his room, crocheting and chatting.  I even enjoy the even quieter moments when he takes a nap.  Just being there beside him.  And when I leave, I know he thinks about those visits, remembering the conversations, looking forward to the next visit.  Can you imagine how lonely it gets when no one visits?  Can you imagine how it would feel to never get a single phone call?  It breaks my heart.

Please, everyone, don’t stop your visits to the nursing and assisted care homes after Christmas.  It doesn’t take much–even a half hour visit is a lovely thing for the residents to think about.  Stop by for a quick visit and bring a treat, send them mail, find out which residents don’t get visitors and stop by their rooms.  You will never realize the enormous joy it brings them.    And when you leave, you’ll realize that it brings you joy, too.

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