UPDATE: 2/11: Join us in taking part in our Random Acts of Kindness for Seniors campaign.
As many of us are shopping in a frenzy to finish up our list to an onslaught of holiday cards, deliveries, and more, there are seniors across the country who won’t get a Christmas or Hanukkah card, visit, or gift this year. Sure, the activity directors of the world are doing everything to provide opportunities for making spirits bright, but in most communities, there is one activity director serving 60, 100, or 600 people. Even the very best director could use a hand in reaching some of those elders in need. And remember, there are many seniors living alone in homes within your neighborhood who are also in need of some holiday cheer.
Here are 10 suggestions for bestowing random acts of kindness on boomers/seniors this holiday season
- Drop off a dozen cookies to the lady down the street who just lost her husband.
- Offer to walk the dog for that gentleman next door who just ca’t keep up with the 100-lb. Labrador on an icy winter day.
- Help the older woman in the supermarket parking lot load groceries into the trunk of her car and offer to bring the cart back.
- Coordinate with your networks (church, workplace, community, etc.) to write a handful or more holiday cards with personalized messages and drop them off at the homes or senior care facilities where isolated seniors reside. The activity director, pastor, or neighborhood leader will know exactly who to give them to.
- Invite your recently widowed neighbor to join your family for Christmas dinner.
- Shovel/salt the walkway for the seniors on your block who don’t have the physical stamina or the advantage of family living nearby to do so.
- Offer to help a senior in need with their Christmas shopping, either by providing transportation/assistance with picking out certain items, or taking his/her list along with you and purchasing the items that he/she needs while you’re out and about.
- Organize a group to go caroling door-to-door at the area nursing home. And bring kids, if you can – their presence is much appreciated at these facilities!
- Bring a wreath of fresh greens with a bright red bow (or perhaps offer to string up a few lights) for someone whose home or assisted living unit is sparsely decorated.
- Know someone who is homebound (or in a care facility with limited transportation options) but was a faithful churchgoer all their years? Give them a call and offer to bring them to Christmas Mass or the religious service of their preference.
Opportunities to brighten an elder’s day are under our noses most of the time, but we’re just too frenetic and frantic to notice these subtle moments or quiet individuals (or we’re busy cursing under our breath for them to step on the gas or pick up the pace). Put the list – long, short, completed, or yet-to-be-tackled – aside, and determine to remember at least one senior in your community this year. It might be the best gift they’ve ever received.