Before the passing of my grandfather, he enjoyed visits from his grandchildren. He was delighted to see and smell a tasty plate of Chinese food from his favorite restaurant. I knew if I brought a plate of food to his place, this would make his day. It was pretty simple to make him happy but hard for me to do often because of mom duties, managing a social work program, spending time with my husband and kids amongst other things. Although my schedule didn't allow me to see him as much as I wanted, I was thankful that there were other family members that saw the importance of being kind and caring for our aging grandfather.
Senior Isolation is alive and prevalent in 2019. As people age, their contact with others can decrease because of the death of family or friends, issues with mobility or retirement from work. This leaves them feeling alone with little interest in participating or finding activities that are available to them. While there's evidence that shows senior isolation can cause depression, high blood pressure and even elder abuse, simple random acts of kindness can help seniors feel alive, cared for and important. Here are three random acts of kindness you can do for an aging friend, neighbor, or relative.
Meals on Wheels, with a twist
Meals on Wheels is a food program that delivers meals (kosher as well) to seniors. While having a meal delivered from a food program can is helpful, seeing a familiar face can be even more delightful of a feeling. Whether it's after work, during your lunch break or the weekend, reach out to a senior who may want a meal along with a listening ear. Good food coupled with a great conversation can go a long way for someone who stays home every day. Take your car, ride the train or your bike to see a senior who may be waiting for a hot delicious meal and a good topic to chat about.
Tag You're It
Tag was a game I loved playing with my friends in elementary school. The person who's tagged has to run and catch someone else to tag. Depending on how many players you had, the game could go on for some time. While Tag left my friends out of breath and tired, we can tag each other to coordinate a time where we can each spend time with a Senior. If you have four cousins, friends and/or co-workers that you speak to often, think of a Senior that may need some company for the month. For the first week, tag someone from the four to visit that Senior and give them a task to complete with them (purchase grocery items, go on a walk, have dinner ). For the next three weeks continue to tag a friend to see that same Senior. By week four, that Senior has had four visits for the month, and you have given him/her an opportunity to share, eat, listen and hug someone different. Tag a friend and spread the love.
Most of my friends know how much I love cards (receiving and giving). So much can be written in a thank you card, sticky note, index card or just a blank piece of paper. You can really see the dimples in someone's face after reading a few kinds words. We can spread some cheer when writing to an elderly person who's home alone. Holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries especially are known to be a hard time for Seniors as they think about loved ones they've lost. This can be a great opportunity to write a note and express how much you care for them. Whether it's a quick note to say hello, a card to bring holiday cheer, or a note slipped under your neighbor's door to say, "I'm here if you need anything," your kinds words can change how a senior views life.
Simple random acts of kindness may not save the world but good food, a thank you note or walk in the park are a few things our seniors can smile about.