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Recent experience I have had indicates the need to have young children around the elderly.  This evening, I went to have dinner with my 97 year old Dad at his senior residence.  As I was leaving, I saw two young children who came to visit their family at the residence.  We rarely see such young children there, but my Dad smiled and looked very happy. (Photo does not show his smile as it was taken before we saw two children.)

I also recall my chat with friend from Washington DC who brought family to visit parents of her husband.  She told me that they bring their young daughter (born in the US and 3 years old?) to see her grand mother every day while they are in Japan.  It is several hour-train ride but her grandmother who has been very ill recognizes her grand daughter with joy.  Very young grand daughter is very caring, holding hands of her grandmother. etc.  She also follows around her grandfather who is professional musician.  Hearing this story, I thought that young children give energy and life to the elderly family members, which is very significant.

As I encounter these incidents, the scene I saw when I was very small (probably 9 or 10) came back to me.  It was when my parents and I visited my grandfather on father’s side.  I saw my grandfather once in a while. That day, my dad’s grandmother who was very ill and almost bed-ridden, saw my father and tried to get up, calling his name.  I recall I felt the deep love and affection of her toward my dad who was still in 30s or so.  I saw that seeing your grandson (my Dad)-I believe it could be one of very few occasions- gives her energy to get up.  I remember I was quite moved (I did not know what it was then, but I remember the scene so vividly.)

I also recall when my grandkids visit Japan and see my Dad, they are very caring and my Dad looks so happy even though they see each other once or twice. (Photo on the left is on Father’ day last year)

I think having young children around gives energy and life to the elderly, whether they are family or not.  When we discuss ageing, we need to think of the power of the very young children.

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