Many young people don’t spend enough time with the elderly, which is a shame because youths can learn a whole lot from the older generation. Ruby Kate Chitsey is an 11 year-old girl who knows just how much the elderly can offer, as she likes to spend her time traveling to different nursing homes granting the wishes of those who live there.
Ruby’s mother Amanda runs a business that involves her assisting dozens of patients at five different nursing facilities across Harrison, Arkansas. Over the summer, Ruby tagged along with her mother and helped her out with her work, and it ended up completely changing the youngster’s outlook on life.
During a visit to one of the nursing homes, Ruby noticed one of the residents gazing forlornly out the window. She was surprised when she looked out the window herself and saw that the person was looking at someone walking a dog out to a car.
“I asked Pearl, ‘What’s so important?’ She told me that it was her dog of 12 years, and she didn’t know the next time she would see it,” Ruby said. “Pearl’s face was so sad. I thought that of all the things in this world Pearl could have, she would probably just ask for more visits with her dog.”
Pearl could not afford to care for her dog on her own because since half of nursing homes in the United States are funded by the government, patients typically only get around $40 a month to spend on things outside of room and board. With other necessities like clothing and haircuts, Pearl did not have money left over from the $40 to spend on dog food, which left Ruby saddened.
“I’m 11, and even I have enough money saved in my piggy bank to help Pearl get a few more visits with her dog,” Ruby said. This experience left Ruby wanting to grant the simple wishes of others in the nursing home, so she grabbed a notebook and started knocking on doors in the facility.
“If you could have three wishes, what would they be?” she asked each patient.
Some of the senior folks wanted something as simple as fast food, others just wanted pants that fit. One woman even wanted to go to a water park to watch families have fun.
“It was a great experience for everyone,” said Amanda. “You expect people to tell you they want a million dollars or a new car, but they don’t. They want snacks or a pair of pants that fits.”
Ruby has since launched her Three Wishes project to raise money to grant the wishes of other patients, and she has already raised over $30,000! The entire community has chipped in to help her grant the wishes of the elderly.
“The response so far has been amazing,” Amanda added. “There are a lot of fundraisers for everything, but not so much for the elderly. It’s been refreshing to see attention shine on this group.”
God bless this little girl for taking the time to help make the elderly in her community happier! Keep up the good work, Ruby!