Monday, May 2, 2016

Older Americans Month



As younger American's, I feel it is our duty to help take care of the Older Americans.  If not for them, who would have taken care of us?  It's just that simple. It is a crucial part of the Circle of Life.

May is declared Older Americans Month in our country, however we should use the month of May not only to do something extra for the Older Americans but to also give thought to what else we can do the rest of the year.  The needs of the elderly do not end when May is over. It is on going every day until they are called home, hopefully to continue their lives where there will no longer be a need of any sort.

In an early post about Spring, I mentioned what a blessing it could be to an elderly person for someone to help pick up broken limbs and such after a storm and this is much needed at this time of year, however there are SO many things we can do all year long.

One thing that is mostly known to all of us is Meals On Wheels. Did you know that you can volunteer to deliver meals as few as 1 day a month?  One day! Actually it is just a few hours in one day. That's not asking a lot. This is a great activity for homeschool families as well as all families during the school breaks and summer. Along with dropping off a meal, take just a few moments to ask how the person has been feeling. Wish them a blessed day, a Merry Christmas or Happy Birthday if you happen to know it. Just a couple of minutes of human contact and conversation from you that day may well be all that person has. Again, another post I wrote about making cards can go along with this.  Leave a handmade card if you can. These folks appreciate anything.  It doesn't have to be much, it's simply the thought.

There are so many others things that we can do to help the elderly.  I won't take time to stretch this post out with a lot of details but I would like to suggest some things to think about.  Some things to do individually, some things to do as a group, (church groups, scouting groups, family time, and co-op groups as well as any other group you may be involved in).

In the grocery store, if you see someone looking above eye level, offer to retrieve an item that they may not be able to reach. Simple enough!

Depending on where you live there might be a need to mow or even shovel the snow from their sidewalk in order to enable them to more safely make it to their mail box and back. To go along with that, if their newspaper is closer to the sidewalk, give it a toss up closer to their front door.

If you have leftovers from dinner and an elderly person nearby, wrap it up and take it to them.  They may have already had their meal for the evening but could easily put it in the refrigerator and warm it up for their next meal.

Talk to someone. Visit a nursing home.  You don't even have to know anyone there.  Find someone sitting alone in the front room, ask if they mind if you sit down and if they agree just strike up a conversation.  After exchanging names ask them about their family.  That will give you an idea of whether or not they have many visitors.  Older folks are very interesting to talk to.  They have lived through many era's and are a plethora of information. I guarantee they will be blessed to have had  a visitor that day.

Offer to clean house for someone. especially a widower.  He may have never really cleaned house much.  Most older people's homes don't get in the mess ours do because they don't have small children making one mess after another and they usually live minimally.  Dusting, sweeping and mopping may be more difficult for them if they have arthritis or such.  It wouldn't need to be done often, maybe just once a month would help.

Do you have a group of boys or girls that earn badges for learning new skills?  Find a way to earn those badges helping an older person. Wanting to teach your kids a bit about home repair?  Find someone who has a need and use it as a teaching opportunity.

There are a multitude of ways to help older people.  Remember also to help them maintain as much independence as possible too.  They don't want to be helpless, they just might need help and most of all they need human kindness.

May God Be With You,

Johnna