I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.

At the Nursing Home

When I was a little girl, my father sometimes used to take me to the nursing home when he was calling on patients.  I can remember people’s faces lighting up when they saw me, a funny-looking freckle-faced kid, whose hair was a nondescript dishwater blonde and always looked a mess.

Sometimes those gnarled old, wrinkled old hands would reach out to touch me, and the introvert in me would recoil, but my father would gently reassure me that it was okay.  They wanted to touch my arm, my face, my hair. They wanted to make sure that youth was real, not just some dream they had had a long time ago.

And now I take my own daughters to the nursing home.  We go to visit my mother.  She doesn’t know their names, or even mine for that matter, but she smiles when she sees us.

nursing home“Who are these girls?” asked the lady in the wheelchair next to my mother’s.

“They’re good ones,” my mother answered.  It’s her way of saying that she approves.  She’s glad we came.

We talked for a few minutes about nothing.  My mother can’t carry on a conversation any more.  She can agree with whatever is said, and little more than that.

The lady in the wheelchair motioned to Hannah to come over and Hannah obediently did.  I watched the wrinkled hand rest on Hannah’s arm as she whispered something in the girl’s ear.  Hannah smiled.

A few minutes later Hannah said to me, “Mom, she wants to talk to you now.”

Sure enough, the lady was waving me over, so I went.

“Your girls are beautiful,” she said, “so beautiful.  Thanks for bringing them in.”

She gazed at Grace and Hannah as she spoke. Was she remembering her own youth? Was she picturing pony-tailed friends and games of hopscotch? I thanked her, but I’m not even sure she heard, so lost in her thoughts was she.

Some many little things can make a big difference.  Sometimes it’s just our presence.


4 comments on “At the Nursing Home

  1. marymcleary
    January 17, 2013

    Frequent visits to relatives in a wonderful home makes your post a special blessing and nudge to keep going and take grandkids.

    • sarahlangdon
      January 17, 2013

      I’m so glad you found some encouragement here!

  2. susan
    January 17, 2013

    “So many little things”…….So true. You might like my blog’s (Help! Aging Parents) “Springs Little Things That Can Mean a Lot” (

  3. resultsseniorservices
    January 17, 2013

    Thank you for the touching story. Half the battle is about just showing up.

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This entry was posted on January 17, 2013 by in Family conversation, Postaday 2013 and tagged , , , , , , .

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