Let’s talk for a moment about the “senior citizens” in our society today. People 65 years of age and older are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, and these days, people are living longer. I think it’s high time we step up to the plate and help the older people in our lives.
This thought comes to mind oftentimes for me because I lost my Dad (age 87) and Mom (age 82) seven months apart. For years, my sister and I took care of our elderly Aunt Irene who outlived our parents and died at 95!
The mature adults in our society are oftentimes ignored; or even, forgive me for saying, “forgotten” in our lives. I truly feel that mature people should be admired, respected and honored. They are a vital part of our world and still have so much to offer with their experiences, wisdom and lifelong lessons.
If we have an elderly relative, neighbor or someone we know, and we want to do our part, there are many simple things we can do to brighten their day.
If they are able to walk and get out of the home, we could:
- Promote socialization. They may want to visit a “Senior” center or club with people of like age and interests. And, it’s never too late for a mature person to start a new hobby or learn something new.
- Offer to give them a ride. You may possibly give them a ride to the grocery store, church or to pick up their prescriptions.
For those “mature” folks who cannot get out of the home:
- Visit with them. Call them ahead of time and ask if you can sit and visit with them. That will make their day, maybe even their whole week!
- Listen to their stories. Encourage them to talk about their childhood years, prior jobs, family, and where they used to live. Seniors have so much to offer and share – so much valued wisdom, experiences and great stories.
- Pick up the phone and call. If you can’t visit, call them on the phone just to chat! I remember I would call my Dad every morning at 8:30 a.m. for several years on the way to work… he would inevitably say (which often wasn’t true) – “this is the only phone call I get all day.”
- Run Important Errands. Offer to pick up their prescriptions or go to the grocery store for them.
If you don’t have seniors in your life, can you smile at that older person in a store? Make eye contact and ask them how they are doing? Open the door for them as they are entering or exiting a store.
Ignite a conversation with them if you are in line next to a mature person. Remember, you may be the only kind person who has noticed them all day…. or all week!
And please give some thought to volunteering with and for the elderly. Several years ago, I was a volunteer assistant/ coordinator for a Christian cancer support group. There were many older people in our group, and part of my duties included calling and checking on members, sending cards on behalf of the group, and giving rides to a few who could no longer drive. I enjoyed this very gratifying season in my life.
Some volunteer opportunities to work with the aged:
- Call your local nursing home and see how you can help! They would probably love for you to come in and sit with residents and read to them.
- Call the senior centers or facilities in your area, and see if they need volunteers.
For other volunteer opportunities, visit: http://createthegood.org/campaign/volunteeringwithseniors
What I wouldn’t do for another day with my Dad… and Mom. They were such a cherished part of my life that has left an empty hole in my heart.
Let’s see how we can make a difference in a mature person’s life. Together, we can spread some sunshine on some of our most valued treasures, our senior citizens.