"When people's grandkids come it, it just brightens their eyes," said Pam Little, activities director at the Sikeston Convalescent Center.
That's why area nursing homes, schools and other groups are making plans to observe National Grandparent's Day on Sunday.
The national holiday, which was proclaimed through legislation in 1978 to be held the first Sunday after Labor Day, has a threefold purpose, according to its Web site. It is to honor grandparents, give them an opportunity to show love for their children's children; and to help children become aware of the strength, information and guidance older people can offer.
Matthews Elementary will observe Grandparent's Day on Monday with grandparents at lunch, said Angela Zorbas, principal.
"The grandparents can have a school lunch, bring for themselves or for both," Zorbas said, adding the lunch period will be extended. "It gives the grandparents a chance to see where the child spends a majority of their time."
Most students have a grandparent that lives nearby, Zorbas said. And for those who don't, staff tells them it's OK to have some other family member come.
Having family come for the day shows their support for a child's education, she said. It also gives the students a sense of pride to introduce their guests to others.
On the flip side, nursing home residents enjoy introducing their grandchildren to others, said Mary Martin, activities coordinator at the Miner Nursing Center.
"They love to show their grandchildren off to everyone who's around," she said. "When they see children at any time, they love to hug them, but there's nothing like their own grandchildren."
The nursing center will celebrate Sunday with an ice cream social, which was marked on the activities calendar families receive. Although families are always encouraged to come spend time with residents, it's even more important on special holidays such as Grandparents Day, Martin said.
At Clearview Nursing Center, the day is also recognized on the calendar of events and through posters displayed throughout the facility. "We encourage our families to bring the grandchildren to visit their loved ones," said Claudia Neal, activity director. "This enhances the quality of life for the elderly."
Little agreed. "A child in itself just brightens their eyes -- it makes such a difference," she said. She encouraged families to just acknowledge the day by spending extra time with grandparents or great-grandparents.
The American Legion is attempting to create an environment for that with a Grandparent's Day lunch scheduled for 11 a.m. Sunday.
This will be the first time the group has a Grandparent's Day lunch, and is the beginning of an effort to have monthly Sunday dinners to raise money for the charities it supports, said Vicki Curtis, treasurer of the group.
"We thought Grandparent's Day was a good holiday -- people are always looking for some place to eat," she said.
The menu of chicken and dumplings, dressing, mashed potatoes and the fixings even fits the occasion. Each month's dinner will go along with a theme, so the group thought those foods would be fitting, since it's "good home cooking" seniors likely grew up eating, Curtis said.