One of the greatest blessings in my life for the past 12 years has been my morning excursion to meet with Wally, a former neighbor who has macular degeneration and can no longer see to read. We meet each morning at 6 a.m. (7 a.m. on Sundays) at a local diner, and I read the paper for us while he has breakfast. We start with the sports page and then move on to other sections as time allows. (Since Wally is a lifelong Cubs fan, we usually have plenty of time for other sections. :)) In between articles, we talk about life and other things. I’ve learned a lot from him, and I hope when I’m 85, I’ll have half the energy and spirit that he has.
We’ll all be there eventually: senior citizen status. In fact, the fastest growing age group is 85 years and older! Most of today’s seniors are not only living longer, they’re full of life and eager for companionship and activity. Unfortunately, many lack the family support or resources to live fulfilling lives.
This is where we come in. There are a number of ways we can help our senior citizens. Here are a few:
1. Take a moment today to offer the elderly people you see a cheerful smile and “hello.” If it’s possible, pay for their cup of coffee or tea. (You may have to do it on the sly as many are quite proud.)
2. Contact a local nursing care, independent living, or assisted living facility and ask if they need volunteers. Ask about children or pets before you bring them, but most will absolutely allow both in restricted areas. (As long as all are housebroken. :))
3. Volunteer for a meal delivery program.
4. Offer to help an elderly neighbor with yard work or minor home repairs. Consider asking other neighbors to chip in and cover the costs.
5. Offer to help with errands such as grocery shopping, medical appointments, or even a trip to the barber/beauty shop.
6. Perhaps the best gift of all is the offer of your companionship. Ask questions about their lives and interests. Ask for their advice or their help. Make them feel like the valuable people they ARE!
I’m sure you can come up with even MORE ideas of ways we can show this segment of our community how cherished they are, and I hope you’ll share your ideas here!