I don’t do this often enough—but I had a chance to spend two days at my mother-in-law’s senior living facility. Her hardworking daughter, Deanna, is the center’s Activities Director. Deanna pours her soul into providing engaging events to give these seniors brighter days.
On Saturday morning, Deanna lined up small pumpkins so visiting children could decorate them. The residents nibbled on doughnuts and sipped apple cider while watching the young kids paint and play games. A temporary tattoo artist made colorful butterflies, flowers, and spider web tattoos on children’s faces and arms. The kids loved it—even the big kid I’m married to.
Later in the afternoon was the monthly karaoke event. Songs from long ago were performed with flawless joy. The seniors in the audience sang right along with the performers.
Steve—a younger resident, who’d had a debilitating workplace injury, is confined to a wheelchair. But I watched him belt out Daydream Believer with such gusto that it filled the room.
Sybil also sang. She couldn’t follow the words on the screen, her mind just doesn’t work that way anymore. The applause following her performance cheered my own heart. And Betty, a senior-aged volunteer, took Sybil’s hand when she’d forgotten where she’d sat.
If I could stay longer, I’d learn more of their stories—like the woman with bandages across her face, who captivated us with her perfect soprano voice. June, the resident who’d sat next to me, told me that the woman had once been a professional singer in New York City. Now she’s here and battling cancer.
These seniors truly care for one another. Volunteer Betty, who is widely known as Bingo Betty for hosting twice weekly bingo games, told me that many seniors don’t have any visitors. These activities help fight off loneliness. And she’s here each day to bring smiles and help.
It’s been said that we are all here just walking one another Home. When we walk with love, the journey is easier, even when it's hard.