My heart is aching for the elderly in my neighborhood and community. They need visitors, they need meals, they need help. A few years ago, Mark and I went to a surprise birthday party for a dear friend who turned 85 years old.
His wife, Lyn sent the invitations through the mail so her husband, Vern would have NO idea he would celebrate his birthday with so many close friends. Here’s the deal, first of all, you would never guess he is 85 years old. He is the guy in the neighborhood digging holes for trees, dragging the branches from trees he has cut down for people, and he would help anyone anytime.
Yes, he has a bad back, but that doesn’t stop him. He is truly an angel for the people who live near him. Everyone loves Vern and Lyn!
The house was packed with love at the party and I walked around to hug all the wonderful friends enjoying the night. I blew a kiss to my neighbor, J.C. because he was sitting on the couch and I couldn’t wade through the crowd.
I did get to hug him as he left. I asked him where his wife Mae was, he started to cry and said she is not doing well. He said, “Linda, please come visit her, she needs a friend right now.” She is close to 80 years old and has really bad arthritis. Of course, then I start to cry and I hug him one more time and said I’d check on her this week. This is the reason for this post today, to remind people to visit their neighbors, no matter how old they are.
Tips for the Elderly
Here are just a few ideas you may be able to use to help the elderly people that live near you.
- Grab a calendar and write down the name of someone you know that could use a hug. Pick a different name for each day of the week. You could visit Mary on Monday, Terry on Tuesday and so forth. Remember some people over 75 go to bed early and wake up late, so keep that in mind.
- Take a few bottles of lotion/cream in a bag when you go visit the elderly and ask your neighbor or friend if they could use some on their hands or feet. Ask them if they would like a gentle massage to soften some dry skin. Sometimes they may even like a little nail polish on their fingernails.
- Your neighbor may love to have some help changing their bed sheets. This may seem odd, but trust me, sometimes they really need help changing them. While you talk, wash them and dry them and put them back on. The first time you ask people it may seem weird, but friends help friends, enough said.
- Sometimes a neighbor could use a little help straightening the kitchen. Who doesn’t love a clean kitchen countertop? Be aware of allergies of the elderly and ask them if they have a cleaner they prefer to use. In most cases, they have run out of the cleaner and they are too tired to go to the store to buy some. Take your favorite cleaner with some rags and ask them if it’s alright to use the ones you brought. Trust me, most of the time they are grateful beyond words. If you have a bottle of vinegar, take it with a spray bottle to use as a cleaner.
- Take some note cards and envelopes with stamps and ask them if they want to send a card to anyone. In their heart most of the time they are very eager to write a quick note to someone. This is a great moment to listen to these sweet friends share some great stories. Bring some stamps and put them in the mailbox for them.
- The elderly love to have someone to talk to, to laugh with and have someone listen to them. Hold their hand when appropriate. There is something about holding hands that sends a message of love. Yes, some people don’t want anyone to touch or hold their hands, but most love it. We can sense in most cases what makes them feel comfortable.
- Call ahead and ask if you can bring lunch to them, trust me they will love it! Be aware of allergies or Diabetes issues.
- Bake some treats like cookies and take a plate full of them to your elderly friends or neighbors. Sometimes it’s just too much of an effort to bake a batch of cookies. Who doesn’t love freshly baked warm cookies, right? Bring some baggies and ask if they would like to freeze some for later.
- If you make bread, grab a loaf and put a hot loaf in some open foil to keep it warm and deliver it with a baggie to store it after it cools down. If you have an extra jar of jam, take it with the loaf.
- Invite the elderly in your neighborhood to the next community activity, they could use the invite and the ride.
- You may want to show up at their doorstep with a case of water. It’s too hard for the elderly to put that case of water in the shopping cart, let alone bring it into their home. It’s too much effort, I promise.
- Call a neighbor and ask if they need a ride to the grocery store. They may say no, but next time I bet they’ll take you up on it. Or ask them if there is anything you can pick up for them, they may just like a bunch of bananas. They will love it!
- If you love washing windows, ask if they would like their front window washed. There is nothing more cheery than looking out a sparkling clean window.
- Ask a neighbor if they would like to go for a ride and see the leaves changing in the fall. They can always say no, but they may say yes!
- I have some neighbors who I know very well, and I have set up automatic payments for their bills. They love it!
- Bring some fresh batteries over to change their carbon monoxide detectors.
- When you change your smoke detector batteries, ask if you can change theirs. They will welcome it, I promise.
- Air furnace filters need to be replaced often, change yours, and then ask your neighbor if you can change theirs.
- Wendy: the post office sells pre-stamped envelopes with a sheet of paper so they can send letters to friends and family.
- Wendy: Gift a book of stamps, it may be hard for them to get to the post office.
May God bless you for being aware of the elderly in your neighborhood or community. I know for a fact they love visitors. Here’s the deal, if your neighbors have a lot of family living near them, that’s awesome. But most do not, and I really think they can use some help. May God bless this world. Linda