I’ve always wanted to be able to combine my passion for the elderly with my faith in Jesus Christ. A prayer of mind has definitely come true. This past Saturday the Parent/Teens Fellowship at my church went to ArdenCourts, a memory care assisted living facility, to sing and visit the residents there. Over 25 teens, kids, and parents crowded their small activity room. They sang, performed skits, played piano and even more blessed the people at ArdenCourts. I was so so so proud of them.
Before going to visit, I was so grateful to have the opportunity to give the group a short peptalk so they could get the most out of this experience. If you don’t have contact with the elderly, it can sometimes be intimidating or awkward.
Here are a few thoughts that I shared in my peptalk:
- Consider visiting throughout the year, not just during the holidays. One thing I have learned from working with seniors is that you should not do a one time visit and consider your job done. Seniors, just like the rest of us, need relationships and so when they get a swarm of Christmas visitors, they can be left depressed when December 29th rolls around and noone is around to say hello.
- When in doubt, SMILE! Even if you don’t know what to say, just smile. It can convey care for the other person.
- Be cheerful. We have so much to be thankful for. Bring your gratefulness and cheer to the seniors you visit. Smile, give them a pat on the back. Give them a hug.
- Speak loudly.
- Introduce yourself. “Hi, My name is Bel. What’s your name?” And once you find out their name, address them by name. It always makes things more personal.