Saturday, October 13, 2007

Two Needs

In Iceland two groups of people are generally forgotten about and neglected.

The school age children are often dropped off at school at 7:30 a.m. and left there until 5:30. Some kids stay even later in the after after school care until about 8:00. This is a long time for kids to be left at the schools being basically ignored, mostly due to under staffing, or being watched by underpaid young adults.

These kids always just want to talk to you, they just want to talk to someone and be heard.

Seniors are in a situation that is no better, maybe even worse. In Iceland you do not see seniors going around on the buses much, or doing the early morning walk at the mall like you would see in Canada. The buses are not friendly towards wheel chairs or walking aids because they have stairs. No one is at the mall in the morning.

If you want to see seniors, old ones at least, you have to go to a nursing home. Most of the people in these homes have been completely forgotten by their families. Visitors are few and far between. It is like they no longer exist, except to the underpaid and under staffed nursing aids who care for them night and day.

Even the most important things are often forgotten. Families are expected to pick up dirty laundry and bring clean clothing, this is often neglected leaving nurses to do laundry.

Last weekend I saw a man turn 90, and no one came by to visit. There was no cake or gift. Not even a phone call. His children were busy. One called three days later, only because she remembered that she had forgotten his laundry last week. We do what we can, clean his clothing, sing him a song, but we are not family.

These people just want to talk to someone or listen. They are amazing people with great patience and stories to tell.

So this is my idea: It is about time these two groups of people were brought together.

I think the after school programs should all make plans with the neighbourhood nursing home and create a visiting program.

These are the details that I have thought of so far:
  1. The kids would be split into groups and each group, once a month would take the bus or walk to the nursing home.
  2. The visits would be timed with visiting time and the nurses could match kid with a senior who is alone and would want a visitor.
  3. The pair should be mixed up often to avoid kids being traumatized when the old people die, because this happens.
  4. I know the after school care has access to a bus two days a week, so no extra funding would be needed.

I honestly have no idea how to get something like this going, but I think it would be great so I will talk to Kasper's school on Monday.

Just think: The kids would have someone to talk to, visit with, look up too and pay attention to just them. The seniors would have someone to talk to and listen, they like to listen, while feeling important, like they should.

Maybe the kids could even learn a little respect for older people.


  1. Michal7:54 PM

    LOVE this idea! It has lots of potential. My one caution would be that the visits would need to be supervised. I know if Audrey were doing something like that, I'd only let her participate if I knew there were enough adults to make sure the kids stayed safe.

    But I LOVE the idea!

    This is so you - your own life is full and yet you're thinking of others' needs.

    You are a jewel among women!

  2. Marcia10:53 PM

    Yes, this is a good idea, although it would need to be closely monitored. It will be interesting to hear what Kasper's school thinks of it. Please let us know. :)

  3. I was thinking everyone would sit in the dining area at tables like people often do during visits, then everything could be closely supervised by the nursing station.