Simple Service: Visiting With the Elderly

Here is our latest guest blog post with another simple service idea. Thank you so much to Katelynne (aka The Disguised Supermom), our regular contributor who will be bringing us wonderful simple service ideas all the way from Connecticut! Katelynne also shared this post and this post with us in the last year.

Simple Service: Visiting With the Elderly

When you consider how your family can give back to your community, have you considered simply giving the gift of your time? Sometimes this can seem like the most daunting option – people are either too nervous to do this with kids or aren’t sure where they can go that will welcome their kids. Well today I’ve got a great idea for your family, especially those with little ones! Visit with the elderly near you.

This is one of my favorite things to do with the kids. There are two ways to do this – either by going somewhere you are already familiar with or by looking up the local nursing home or senior citizen center in your town. Our family has done this both ways will great success.

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For the most part, these men and women spend their days surrounded by those in similar situations – the lucky ones have family visit but for a lot of them, they don’t receive any visitors. Either way, their days are typically mundane and the routines are the same. Visiting with them, just saying “Hello” or “How are you today?” can have such an impact on them.

This particular activity hits close to home for me. My grandmother moved into an assisted living facility roughly 6 years ago and over those years, I’ve seen her age so quickly as she was surrounded by other aging individuals. When I visit with any of the kids (or all of them!), there is instantly a spark in her eyes. It would be easy to think it’s because I’m family and she’s just happy to see us, except it never fails to amaze me how just seeing children brings joy to all those we see in the facility.

Before visiting a nursing home or other facility, it is important to talk to your kids about what to expect and the purpose of going there. People will be drawn to them, want to talk with them and ask them questions. Explaining how few children visit can help them understand why everyone will want to talk to them. My daughter is extremely outgoing and will talk to everyone we see. But for my more introverted kids, I’ve found that having them prepare cards or colored pictures to hand out helps them know what to do.

It is also important to talk with them about the possibility of someone not welcoming your visit. I’ve found this to be a very small percentage of people but nonetheless, some men or women will not want to visit with you.

To make it easier for you, here’s a brief list of things to discuss ahead of time:

  •  Smile!

  •  Say hello to everyone and ask how their day is

  •  If someone asks you a question, answer them

  •  Hand out cards/pictures to the residents

  •  If someone doesn’t answer you, that’s ok!

  •  Some people will not want visitors, don’t be rude but it’s ok to move on

  •  Always remember, we are in their homes and should treat it as such

Not only will visiting with the elderly bring joy to those you visit, I guarantee it will have a deep impact on you and your family. We are teaching our children the importance of going out of our comfort zone to bring comfort and joy to others. We’re introducing them, even at a very young age, to the concept of serving others, of looking out for those otherwise marginalized and those in need.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Katelynne is married to her high school sweetheart and a stay at home mom to 4 little ones in Connecticut.  When she is not managing the house or homeschooling her little ones, she provides encouragement and practical ideas for other homemakers and mamas through her blog The Disguised Supermom.  Her passion is supporting these women, lifting them up and giving them tangible ways to ease the stress that comes from each aspect of their life.