Last spring my Grandfather celebrated his 90th birthday and a few months later, took his last breath. His passing left hole in my heart, yet inspired a renewed passion for taking care of the elderly. And it reminded me what truly matters in our fleeting time on earth.
In this modern age, self interest, greed and self adoration seem normal and common place. There seems to be a race to consume more and be more. Yet inside all of us is the cry for more and to leave this kind of hollow and shallow life behind. Is it any wonder that so many of us feel so unhappy and unfulfilled while also being surrounded by the things of this world?
Throughout my years as a Christian, I’ve realized that only God can fill the ache and longing in our soul. When we experience true fellowship in His presence, we are finally complete and fully satisfied. Only when we have a personal relationship with Him and experienced the power of His amazing grace, will we truly find fulfillment and discover true joy.
However, I’ve also discovered how fulfilling the pleasure of giving back to those in our communities can be. And in honor of my late Grandfather, I’ve realized that taking care of the elderly is not just a rewarding pursuit, it’s the duty of every Christian. Plus, it’s a simple way to bring you closer to God as you experience the joy of being the hands and feet of Jesus.
Simple Ways Christians Can Take Care of the Elderly
Volunteer your time
You likely have retirement homes and Christian continuing care retirement communities in your area where seniors can enjoy their retirement with care, independence and dignity. While these places have qualified and professional employees doing a great job, a spare pair of hands is always welcome.
Retirement homes like to involve themselves with their local community and helping out is not only a way to make your community strong and cohesive but also a wonderful way to meet friendly, knowledgeable people with a lifetime’s worth of wisdom to impart.
I challenge you to get the whole family involved and:
- Visit a retirement home
- Bring cards and homemade pictures
- Intentionally “adopt” an elderly person who doesn’t have family or visitors
- Bring fresh flowers to brighten up their living space
Help them tend to their homes
As we get older it gets harder to run a household, but especially when our beloved partner is taken into the Lord’s embrace before us.
Lots of seniors are very protective of their independence and checking in on an elderly neighbor occasionally to help them live independently is a great way of lending a helping hand. Help them to keep the place clean, tend to their garden, water their plants or help to salt the driveway when it’s cold and icy. This will help them to preserve their independence.
Share your meals
If you’re like me and cook waaaaay too much at big family get togethers, it can bring a little joy to a neighbor to share some of our food rather than letting it go to waste. Lots of isolated older people find it hard to cook for themselves, meaning that they may not get the nutrition that they need for their ongoing good health. Your kindness can keep them happier and healthier for longer.
I didn’t know until speaking with my Grandmother just how much getting mail means to her. Her and her friends even compare the mail they’ve received from family and friends, so getting mail is a big deal to many elderly people. Plus, writing a card or mailing a hand-drawn picture from the kids takes only a few minutes of time, yet means so much.
Bake a treat
Everyone loves to be thought of in a kind way, and baking cookies or treats are a wonderful way to show someone you care. Be sure, though, that you know if your friend or relative have any dietary restrictions.
Take them to run errands
As one gets older and loses the privilege to drive, it can be frustrating to not get out of the house as often as you need. Helping the elderly run a few errands is a simple way to help them feel more independent while showing them how much you care, too.
Listen to memories and stories
We all like to feel important and that what we say matters, including the elderly. For many, you giving the gift of your time and listening to them means the world. It’s a simple way to show you care and to infuse their lives with kindness.
It’s our duty as Christians to care for and look after all of God’s people, including the elderly. May you remember to intentionally shepherd this special generation and to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those in need.