Kids playgroup lifts spirits at northwest side nursing home

KOLD Nursing home gets much-needed playdate

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - It’s the season of change.

A time where some spirits may be low and those in nursing homes may not get many visitors.

“I see so many people that are very withdrawn or very quiet,” said Rosalie Furtado. She has lived at the Life Care Center of Tucson for a year.

But the mood on Wednesday was much different than most days.

The Young at Heart playgroup visited. It was Furtado's first time witnessing the difference made on her neighbors. "They've smiled, they've clapped and it's just so thrilling to see them like this."

For eight weeks at a time, these same children come to visit. The moms bring their kids here every other Wednesday.

Youngsters visiting the Life Care Center of Tucson during a special event (Source: Tucson News Now)
Youngsters visiting the Life Care Center of Tucson during a special event (Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Walton, Elizabeth)

Joanna Urbina started this playgroup in January as part of her company, the Little Cardboard Rocket. It promotes and hosts different parent and me classes around town.

"It's a celebration is what it ends up being. A celebration of our community and being together and celebrating life," Urbina said.

Wednesday's lesson was about fall. Kids were learning about the leaves, but planting roots with these seniors. Together they're breaking down barriers and promoting new perspectives.

"Too many times a child may see someone in a wheelchair and maybe shy away from them," said Furtado.

Even the simplest of interactions between the two prove to be uplifting.

KOLD - kids playgroup visiting northwest side nursing home

“That’s what we all need. No matter where you are.”

Furtado said her schedule is ever-changing like the seasons, but after the way she felt on this Wednesday, she won't miss one of these play dates again.

"I didn't know when I was coming up what to expect ... but it's great," she said.

For now the play dates only happen at the Life Care Center, but plans are in the works to get them going at another nursing home on the east side.

Urbina hopes to one day have them in homes all across the Old Pueblo.

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