Nursing Home Week: An Opportunity to Serve

Let’s face it:  The elderly are some of the most overlooked members of our society.

My husband is an administrator of a nursing home, which I believe is a ministry in itself.  I have never seen anyone as patient and caring towards the elderly as my amazing husband.  He truly respects and reveres the wisdom that each of these precious individuals have to share.  It breaks my heart when he tells me about residents who have absolutely no family or friends come to visit.  How can a person live their entire lives and be forgotten at the end of it?

The Bible has a few things to say about how we should be treating the elderly that still very much apply to us today.

“Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God.  I am the LORD.”  -Leviticus 19:32

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”  -James 1:27

As mothers, we have an amazing opportunity to be an example to our children of how to treat (and even serve) the elderly.  The best lessons are taught not just with our words, but with our actions as well.

I want to challenge you, sweet Mamas, to take this opportunity to serve alongside your children to brighten the day of some very precious people!  Nursing Home Week is May 13-19.  Take a few hours of your week to visit your local nursing home or even an elderly friend, neighbor, or relative.  I would suggest calling ahead of time to see when the best time might be to come, but even if you are unable to work out the details beforehand, the residents would be happy to have you!

If you have young children, it might be helpful to read Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge prior to your visit.  This sweet picture book tells the story of a young boy who befriends his elderly neighbor and helps her “find” her memory.  If you’re looking for some ideas on how to make your trip extra special, here are just a few:

• Make handmade cards to deliver.

• Make sunshine cookies.

• Buy some flowers in bulk and hand-deliver to each of the residents.

• If you have older children, have a group of kids sing to the residents during one of their meals.

• Create a survey with questions that your child can ask the residents (who was his/her favorite president, what job did he/she do before retiring, how many children does he/she have, etc.).

What other ideas do you have for ways that we can honor the elderly and encourage our children to do the same?

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6 thoughts on “Nursing Home Week: An Opportunity to Serve

  1. Thank you for this post. My dad was in a memory care unit at a nursing home for 2 1/2 years before passing away. My mom was there faithfully every day. We would visit every 6 months (lived out of state) and the residents always enjoyed having my son (started going at age 2) there to play and bring some entertainment to their day. I was shocked by how many residents did not have family that visited or only came once a year, yet they lived right down the road. If you are worried about how your LO will take it…my son didn’t even bat an eye. He helped put Granpa’s feet in his wheelchair and would help push. He would talk to those that were bed-ridden. We didn’t make a big deal of what we saw and heard and in turn, DS only reacted with happiness and love. We now visit the nursing home near our home in a hope to brighten other’s day.

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  2. I love this article! My almost 12-year-old daughter is trying to begin a nursing home/retirement home ministry but her youth group is so uninterested. She loves the residents at our local home and we plan to go again soon. The elderly have so much to offer. Our culture should appreciate them more!

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  3. My husband is an Assistant Administrator and currently in the Administrator in Training program at a nursing home, and worked as a social worker before that. Like your husband, he has a compassion for the elderly that fills my heart with joy. We do not visit as often as we should (he works an hour away from home), but I share your sentiments. What a wonderful post! Thank you for the book recommendation too; I will be looking for it!

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  4. Hi, Jenae! Thanks for letting us know about Nursing Home Week! As an Occupational Therapist, I spent many a “good” year working with people who resided in or were rehabbing in nursing home environments. My special memories are those that come from the times when I shared pictures of my family or our vacations. People loved to look “out at the world” and then to recall stories that they had of their families and travels. My Brownie troop would visit our local nursing home once a month and the ladies and gents would love to work on a small, quick project with them. I love Charity’s tissue paper flowers idea! We’d pick something for each season or holiday and the children loved “helping their adopted grammie or grandpa” to do the project! Again, thanks for filling us in on this incredible week!

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