This summer, a staff member at my grandmother’s nursing home noticed all the announcements around our community for Vacation Bible School programs. She began talking with the residents about their VBS experiences, many of them as teachers over the years. As they reminisced, the idea came to her to bring VBS back to them.
“This is their home,” said Anita Douglas, who coordinates activities for the center. “They can’t leave here, so I wanted to bring something they have such fond memories of back to them.” One of the residents suggested asking my mother, who visits my grandmother there every day and holds a reading hour for the patients each week, to coordinate it.
Though we’d never heard of VBS going on the road to a nursing home, my mother was a natural choice. She teaches the kindergarten Sunday School class at her church and helps with VBS, so she has a ready store of ideas, crafts, and curriculum.
For two hours between breakfast and lunch, my mother brought Bible lessons, snacks, and crafts to a 14-person crowd 80, 90, and even 100 years older than traditional VBS students. Their age required a bit of flexibility and options—same goes for kids, actually—with some sorting Fruit Loops to glue on a Noah’s Ark-themed crafts, others coloring with crayons, and a few just snoozing, including my 100-year-old grandmother.
Sharing the old Bible stories in a simple way and making simple crafts might, on the surface, appear to be treating the elderly like children. But this format meets their current needs: many are hard of hearing, have poor vision, and operate with limited motor skills.
Our little Vacation Bible School program allowed for more interaction ...1
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What Vacation Bible School Looks Like in a Nursing Home
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