Each month we will offer a list of action ideas so you can defend, honor, and celebrate Life in your churches and communities on our Take Action page. This month, we are looking at visiting nursing homes.
When people face the end of their lives, the stakes change. They worry less about what they look like or what people think of them. They don’t have to consider career advancement or struggle to try and “have it all.” There is a lot of time for reflection and rest.
Aging does bring along its own fears, however—fears of dying, suffering, and the unknown. Still, there is something still worse that threatens the elderly and the ailing, and it can be found in every retirement community, hospital, and hospice: loneliness. Busy families don’t always make the time to visit or call aging loved ones, or they may not live nearby. Elderly people out-live friends and family members, leaving them isolated and companionless. It’s a very lonely thing to grow old, to watch younger and healthier people living their busy lives, while increasingly feeling like you are just waiting for your life to end.
We cannot take away their sickness or mortality. That belongs to God alone. But we can show Christ’s love to people who need conversation and friendship. Are there any retirement communities or nursing homes in your area? Visiting residents is an excellent ministry opportunity and can bring such joy to those who most need encouragement. They don’t need a lot—just some conversation and company, something to look forward to. Because if they feel that you value them, they will feel of value themselves. We can help elderly people not just endure their remaining years but find joy and pleasure in them.
- Contact your local nursing home and organize volunteers in your church to visit and meet with residents
- Read children’s books or rhymes to Alzheimer’s patients. You can even sing children’s song to them.
- Schedule a choir concert for residents and allow time for a sing along or meet and greet after the event.
- Pray with residents and read Scripture with them, especially if they reside in a secular nursing facility. Encourage them to grow in their faith, even in their most mature years.