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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.