Inspired by a close relationship with her grandmother, Meridian native Hailey Henderson makes a positive impact on area nursing home residents on a weekly basis.
“I really enjoy just hanging out and talking with older people,” Henderson said. “They always have good stories to tell and are very wise on a lot of topics.”
The Jones County Junior College student lived with her grandmother throughout school, and credits “Meme” for her passion for the elderly.
“Meme has always been so good to me, so have the opportunity to spend time with other geriatric patients is a great way to honor our relationship,” Henderson said.
Spending approximately three hours each week in various nursing homes in and around Lauderdale County, Henderson hosts impromptu story time lunches.
“I just ask them about their favorite story or memory and then they can share what they want to," Henderson said. “… I really enjoy the time I get to spend with each and every one of the residents. I get just as much good out of it as they do.”
Residents look forward to Henderson’s visit, and many claim Henderson as an adopted granddaughter.
“They always ask if my classes are going well and they make sure I’m studying,” Henderson said.
For the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Henderson plans on spending some of her break from college decorating nursing homes around area.
“It brightens up the mood and brings joy to so many people. It’s an easy way to uplift and make everyone feel welcome,” Henderson said.
The 24 year old encourages others to look for ways to give back to their community.
“I don’t think what I’m doing is all that special but if I make one person’s day better or put a smile on their face, I’m happy.”