There is a wonderful population in our society that has so much wisdom and so much to give, but often times they are escorted to the sidelines of life and are overlooked. Loving the elderly with Random Acts of Kindness is a wonderful way to bring a spark of joy and happiness to their day as well as enlighten our hearts. It will be an adventure for them and your family as well!
Over the years, loving and serving the elderly has taken many forms in our family. Most recently, our family helped take care of my husband’s grandparents for a year and so we were deeply focused on their needs physically and emotionally. As we would walk into whichever living facility they were in at the time, we would see so many others, who also needed to feel wanted, useful, and cherished.
Ideas for Loving the Elderly with Random Acts of Kindness
There can be some wild rides in store for your family when you start to love on this population. They have lived and seen so many amazing things. And they will love you and your kids so much as you shower them with love and kindness.
Tips for your kids
Before you start serving and loving this population, especially if you decide to go into nursing homes or retirement villages, you may need to give your kids a few tips:
- Walking and being gentle is extremely important. Running can cause accidental broken bones, so being slow and paying attention to those around you is a must. With one of our children, we nicknamed “bulldozer,” we had to reiterate this over and over. She learned enjoyed meeting new people.
- Say “Hi!,” smile, and, as they feel comfortable, give hugs. For the most part, the elderly love holding kids’ hands, receiving hugs, and giving gentle high fives. I noticed some of my children were more comfortable doing this than others. We encouraged each to interact as they felt comfortable and over time noticed their comfort level increase. We never tried to force any interaction because initially they are encountering people they don’t know and we want everyone to feel comfortable.
- Play the smile game. Everything is more fun for kids when a game is involved. The smile game is simple. Make eye contact and smile with as many people as possible. Count how many people smiled back.
- Be gracious. Let your kids know that some people may have a difficult time remembering conversations they have, even if the conversation happened only a few minutes ago. If you let your kids know in advance that this might happen, they won’t be caught off guard when it happens and will be more gracious with their responses.
- Have fun! Randomly choose what Random Act of Kindness you will do by using these Kindness Cookies. My kids love to open a kindness cookie and then go on our serving adventures.
Loving the Elderly in Your Neighborhood
- Rake Leaves.
- Plant Flowers.
- Bake Cookies.
- Wash windows.
- Invite them over for Dinner.
- Make them the honored guests at dinner with crowns, sashes, and their favorite meal.
- Take tea or lemonade over and enjoy a short talk.
- Write them notes or draw pictures.
- Sweep and shovel their sidewalks and driveways.
- Sit on their porch and talk with them.
- Sing Christmas Carols to them during Christmas time.
- If they don’t have holiday plans, invite them to your dinner celebration.
- Gift them left overs to eat for lunch during the week.
- Gift them small portion freezer meals.
- Take them a hot meal.
Download a printable version of this list below. Cut out each idea and place them in a jar or basket. Then, randomly choose one on days you want to spread kindness!
Click this link for the free download –>> Loving the elderly with Random Acts of Kindness Printable
Serving the Elderly in a Nursing Home/Living Facility
At last count in 2014, around 1.4 million elderly people live in nursing homes, independent or assisted living facilities. Why not call a facility near you and ask if you can come visit one or a few of the residents that do not get visitors?
1. Bring them flowers. Real or these easy to make paper flowers.
2. Make them a card. You can even decorate it with the paper flowers above.
3. Interview them. This is so much fun and boy do they enjoy the time too. Ask if you can video them sharing one of their favorite stories or about a specific time in history. It is truly AMAZING what your kids will learn.
4. Entertain them with your musical talent. If you have a little singer or musician, have them bring their instrument and give a little performance.
5. Go caroling. Get a group together and make arrangements to go caroling through each wing of the facility during Christmas time.
6. Play dominoes or cards. There might already be a game time set up at the facility, if so ask to join in. They love young faces around or you could play one-on-one with someone who doesn’t come out of their room much.
7. Teach a class. This could be a one day class or a class that spans over several weeks. Maybe you could bring a laptop or use computers that are available and teach them how to use Facebook or Email to stay connected to their friends and family.
8. Paint nails. All of us love feeling beautiful and being pampered. A fresh coat of paint on ours nails is an easy and thoughtful way to do it.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of wonderful things you can do. Hopefully, this will be the start to forming wonderful relationships and pulling this beautiful population off the sidelines of life.
More Random Acts of Kindness Ideas
This post is day 11 in a 30-day Random Acts of Kindness series. See all of the posts, plus other RAOK ideas and resources by clicking the image below.