Our La Belle Visite program is designed for seniors living in long-term care residences and, more recently, for adults in palliative care centres. The clowns in this program play members of the elegant, funny and charming Labelle family, a large clan hailing from the Beauce region of Quebec. The characters and costumes are inspired by the years from the 1930s to the 1950s, which harken back to the seniors’ younger years.
The clowns evoke the songs, dances, films, fashion, social mores and customs of these decades, prompting seniors to recall memories of their youth. Mostly, they listen to the people they meet, seek their advice and benefit from their rich experience in a variety of spheres of life, including family, education, homemaking, personal finance and marriage, among others. This approach empowers elders by making them feel competent and useful, and places value on their experience in a way that helps them see the world they live in today from a broader perspective.
We have time to take the time... to hold someone’s hand, listen to the same story every week, look at faded photos and sing songs from days gone by. And when it’s time to say goodbye, there are kisses all around, and the Labelle family members leave knowing spirits have been lifted for the briefest of moments.