Singing with Seniors
A few months ago, I was inspired by a video that came across my newsfeed. It was of a senior centre and daycare that operated in the same building and the joy that both young and old received while interacting with one another. The seniors got such joy out of playing with the young children and the young children got to interact with some adults who were older and wiser. Immediately, I felt the need to bring the same joy to our community, so I contacted Rebeccah Osmand at the Rotary House and asked if my son and I could come visit with some other moms and babies. Then I put together a Facebook group called Singing with Seniors, which currently has 44 members and is growing!
I had been to the Rotary House before with my Elementary School choir and remembered how happy the seniors were to see the children sing. This year, I am on maternity leave and thought “what better way to bring joy to our local seniors, but by hosting monthly sing-a-longs”. To add a little extra fun to our visits, I invited other mothers that I knew with little ones to join us. We have made 3 visits so far, and the smiles on everyone’s faces for that hour are priceless! The residents enjoy watching the little ones roll around on the blanket, crawl and walk around the room. They also love to see how the children are growing and what new milestones they are reaching each month.
I always bring my guitar and songbooks along, but I find that it is fun to include the residents in other ways, by giving them props that they can use to interact with the children. They enjoy seeing how the babies react to the instruments, scarves and the parachute. Last visit, we even did a cooperative version of Head, Shoulders Knees and Toes where the mommies touched the babies heads and shoulders and the seniors got to tickle the babies knees and toes. It was great fun for all!
The best part has to be chatting and visiting at the end! The residents of the Rotary House love to end our sessions with hugs and snuggles. They enjoy talking to the babies and children and trying to make them giggle. I honestly think I could leave my guitar at home and they would spend the whole hour just bonding with the little ones in this way! I have seen tremendous joy come out of this intergenerational experience and hope that others will make an effort to visit with our local seniors as well.
I hope to continue this program throughout my maternity leave and beyond. I have always been an advocate for community service, but feel that our visits are such fun that it does not seem like service at all. I am hoping that more mothers, fathers and children will join our little group and experience what it means to bring joy to others, not just through music, but through personal interactions. If you are interested in joining us for a visit, please join my Facebook group Singing with Seniors, where I post updates on when our visits will take place.