“Lift your Spirits” 3

See the Tag Cloud for earlier posts on this theme.

Simple things to do for a mood changing happiness boost:-

“Hearing a baby laugh”

In my time running nursing homes, I found nothing lights up older people’s eyes so much as seeing young children, especially new babies.  A relative visiting with a young child, was an event in itself and brightened everyone’s day.  Knitting is a valuable skill still practiced by many older ladies and the cardigans, twin-sets, scarfs, hats,booties and woollen toys, are a guaranteed way of ensuring you always have a present for a new-born grandchild.  I have seen the most amazing large knitted dolls – Noddy and his car, a gardener with fork, spade and watering can.  Scarecrows by the field full and dolls to capture every little girls’ heart.

My father could never pass a mother with a new-born baby in a pram without crossing the baby’s palm with silver.  He used to always have silver joey’s in his pocket (a threepenny piece I think) ready for his next encounter.  Later it became a silver sixpence, then a shilling – then 5p, 10p, 50p (that’s inflation for you).  Sadly, these days, dad’s acts of generosity would probably be regarded with suspicion.

On a bigger scale, there are even more ambitious ways of fulfilling this approach to happiness.  When I was first researching retirement villages in the 1990’s, I went to see some schemes in Denmark.  One had a small swimming pool in a basement and was overlooked by a gallery in the village entrance.  Hanging over the balcony were lots of elderly people, all pushing in for a better view.  When I managed to squeeze to the front to find out what was going on, I saw a pool full of young mothers, all teaching their babies to swim.  Apparently it was the hottest show in town and was packed out every week.  That certainly had everyone smiling !

On a later trip to Holland, I saw a retirement village in Amsterdam which had a crèche to look after the young children of the staff who worked in the village.  Many of the helpers in the crèche were older residents who lived in the village and were only too happy to be volunteers .  That is a great idea, which I did later see repeated in the Rountree Trust Retirement Village – Hartrigg Oaks in York.

  Young children and grannies and grandpa’s together is a virtuous circle which we should encourage much more often.


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2 Responses to “Lift your Spirits” 3

  1. Wonderful, that is joyesness and life between the generations. Where Oh where are the CBC? and the endless security checks takings us today? Trust is a gift we should not forget.

  2. Maureen o'Neill says:

    John, as you said in “Lift your spirits 1” It is the simple things in life that make people happy.

    “Hello, Good Evening, and Welcome.” These words used by David Frost in 1966
    on the Frost Programme could well have started Showtime in 2011. As it was the 19th November
    was an evening of pure entertainment.

    Our very able host, warmly welcomed everyone – not just the audience
    but the people who made up the Follies cast. What a lovely crowd they were.
    They sang, clowned and walked their way into every bodies hearts – from Burlington Berties
    to classical singers, from Flanagan and Allen to Gypsies, Boy scouts and Londoners,
    Peter Sellers and his love sick patient – they all enthralled us.

    The Audience were wowed and comments like these arose,
    “I never thought she would have the nerve”
    “Didn’t know he / she could sing”
    “Fancy him taking part – good for him” –
    “Who would have imagined those two blokes could sing like that”
    “Isn’t he/she good”
    “I wouldn’t be brave enough to try”

    There was a pleasant surprise towards the middle of the show.
    No one knew who the lovely young lady was who came on to the stage and sang “Edelweiss”. so beautifully.
    Enquiries afterwards revealed that she was Isobel Williams, the 11 year old daughter of one of our Doctors.
    It is hoped that her dad, mum, brother and baby sister enjoyed the show too.

    No one could tell that some had Cancer, some wore catheters or had a colostomies, serious lung disease or a Parkinsons sufferers but nothing stopped these older people from having fun and nothing stopped over a hundred people from enjoying their friends efforts. This was a night of enjoyment by everyone for everyone.
    What makes you happy we were asked in one of your blogs.? I would say happiness comes in caring for other people regardless of age or ability and not being afraid to have ago

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