'Babies who volunteer' bring new life to seniors with care-home visits

   
Published May 19, 2019 5:43 p.m. ET
Updated May 19, 2019 10:00 p.m. ET
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Seniors in several long-term care homes around Ottawa have been getting special visits over the last year from newborn babies.

Organized by non-profit group “Babies Who Volunteer,” the visits look to enrich the lives of seniors with hour-long sessions of cuddling and play.

“Oh, I love it,” 85-year-old Jinny Maclean told CTV News. “We have lots of good things that happen here, but to me, this is the best.”

The program was born last year, when Jessica Turner took her newborn daughter along to visit a friend’s parent, who had Alzheimer’s disease.

She put the newborn in the woman’s arm, who hadn’t spoken in years, and was surprised when she started singing to the child.

“Her daughter was amazed that she was hearing her mom speak again for the first time,” Turner said.

The organization visits dozens of long-term care facilities across Ottawa and Kingston, with 1,100 parents volunteering their children.

They hope that in time, they can expand to include school-aged children in the program.


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