Clown Care for Seniors

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For many seniors at Sky Park Gardens Assisted Living in South Sacramento, time drifts slowly. Suzanna “Sammie” Hoye and Ann “Alexander” Roach dress up as clowns to bring joy into their lives.
But fun activities only speed things up so much. Sometimes all they need is to hold on to a moment with someone who cares.
“A very intentional touch is very important,” says Suzanna Hoye.
For many of the seniors, Suzanna and Ann are the highlight of their month.
Senior Rena Hombersley says it’s really boring at the center and Suzanna “sings songs and I sing songs to her, it’s really neat.”It’s the small things that matter to them though.
Hombersley said, “She blows a lot of bubbles and they stay a long time. She could be gone two or three days and they’ll still be on the ground.”
They linger just like memories of the gentle clowns.
Ann says, “To bring joy into somebody’s life I mean how many times do they experience joy in a day?”
Suzanna was trained in Holland. She and her protege perform very differently from American clowns, but they have similar props – like the red nose.
“It’s kind of a universal sign that this could be fun, here’s an opportunity to play. When you wear a nose, you give permission and you get permission to come a little closer and do unexpected things.”
Sometimes, it’s just the permission to react.
“I’ve never seen him smile before today – so to have him look at me – and he didn’t just smile, he smiled! That was really precious for me,” said Ann.
It’s creating shared moments with the seniors that linger in the air long after the clowns leave.

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