Rise and Shine! (On the Elderly)
By Terri C
If you’ve spent much time in Scripture, it’s apparent that the elderly are to be revered, respected and cared for. They are to be recognized for their wisdom, their lifelong contributions to society and community, and for the work they’ve done to prepare their families for a future. In Biblical times, it was a honor to care for the aged and to glean from their wisdom! These days it seems as though as soon as we deem our elderly unproductive to society, we find a nice “place” for them with a name like “Shady Acres” or “Pleasant Ridge Manor”. How many do you know personally who move into a place like that after 50+ years in their own home, and die within a year or so? The statistics are staggering! Gone are the days when Grandma rested on a daybed in our living room, spending her last days listening to her grandchildren play and being cared for by hands that she herself raised. Too often, Grandmas are dropped into an environment of beeping monitors and strangers, without any comforts of home. Somewhere along the way, our society has made both birth and death a medical procedure, instead of the miracle from God that both can be.
~I will stop here for just a moment to acknowledge that in many cases, there is not another option for the elderly. I know this all too well, because my mother lives at “Pleasant Ridge Manor”. Her medical needs are beyond what I am able to provide, and her dementia adds challenges that are above my skill set. And so I understand that sometimes, admittance to a “nursing home” is the only option.~
Another scenario that many of our elderly are facing is being alone in a home they can no longer maintain. Many can’t drive anymore, and even a trip to the market is beyond what they can perform on their own. Whatever the living arrangements, too many of our senior citizens are facing darkness, after years of being light for everyone else! Are there ways that we can shine God’s light on them? Absolutely! If I were a betting girl, I’d put my last dollar on the fact that within ten miles of where any of us live, there is an elderly person longing for some light! Aching for it in their innermost parts!
Of course, before we go about shining light on anyone, we check our own connection to the Light Source. We do this through repentance, Scripture study, and prayer.
Once we know that we are operating in light and not shadows, we can extend that light to the elderly in our own communities! I know that you could add to my list of tips, and I hope that you will! To get started making a real difference in the lives of the elderly, here are some things we can do:
- Start at “home”: Reach out to the aged in your own family! Remember great aunt Gertrude from all the family reunions? She would love some photos of the newest member in the family bloodline! A short call, a handwritten note or a visit would make her day! Since uncle Bo died, she is lonely everyday.
- Find more: We live in a time when not many people know who their neighbors are. Chances are, there is an elderly person with a need right in our own neighborhood! Find out. Once found, we can help in many ways. Cutting the lawn, fixing a broken step on their porch, dropping off a casserole or even some fresh cut flowers can really make a difference in their day. And don’t forget to check on them during inclimate weather!
- Drop by the nearest nursing home: There is someone on the administration staff that will talk to you about what the greatest needs are there. Often, you can form a small Bible study, quilting class, or even a weekly tea!
- Give generously what you can give: Everytown, USA has an office dedicated to services for the elderly. Drop by your local office to see what you have to give that would be helpful. Giving doesn’t have to be cash money, although if you have that…give it! There is also a need for clothing, toiletries and blankets. Check the basement and the attic! There is something there gathering dust that an elderly person is going without today.
- Volunteer: Services like “Meals on Wheels” are always looking for help! If you’re not sure where to begin, check with religious organizations in your community, the local center for the elderly, or do some research on the internet to find the need in your town.
- Utilize social media: If you have an elderly person on your friend list, don’t forget that the internet might be their only social life! Near or far, someone would benefit from you staying in touch through messaging. Ask them questions about their lives! Our elderly are a treasure trove of wisdom and experience. Too often, we are in too much of a hurry to just listen to them. Slow down to learn that the benefit of communication with the elderly is a two-way street! They are blessed by someone who cares enough to keep in touch, and we are blessed by their wisdom and knowledge.
God is faithful! If we ask Him how we can be light to the elderly, He will be sure to open some doors for us, and place someone with a need right in our path. We need only walk through those doors and pay attention to who is set in our path. Let’s never forget that the best way to shine light will always be to share our time! Whether we’re dropping by for a visit or just chatting for a moment in the produce section of the market, we can make a difference in the lives of the elderly every day. Let’s make today the day to start!
I’ll “see” you again soon, dear reader. Until then… Rise and Shine!