Many of us will spend months, if not years in them, mostly toward the end of our lives - yet very few of us bother to volunteer as visitors there. The folks are mostly normal, but unable to be cared for at home, if they had one. Get over the occasional smell and a few odd behaviors - your presence is what will make it a better place. A lot of good people there are so gracious for the smallest kindness. What keeps you from establishing a positive presence at such a facility, even if it's dropping by for a member of your family? After my Mom died in a home, I was asked to stay on because I had such rapport with the residents, and today I am due there in minutes for my elder support group! Your conversation means a while of reliving old memories and forgetting today's loneliness.