By Rhonda Hatterman, LivWell Seniors
It is hard to believe yet another year has just past. With this New Year upon us, I pause to give thanks for all that we seemingly take for granted in our world. We live in the heartland of America, rich with services and resources to help senior citizens. We take care of our elderly. We are accustomed to having ready access to medical care. In the face of health care reform with rapidly dwindling state and federal resources for senior services (historically provided either free or reduced), we find ourselves looking for new ways to meet the demands of a rapidly aging population. We attended a community think-tank discussion about this a few weeks back. The speaker outlined what our demographics will look like in 2030. It was a “wow” moment for me. Even after all these years working with the elderly, I was taken aback by the numbers. It made me pause and appreciate what we, as a society, have today.
Additionally, it started generating thoughts, giving way to consider new and innovative ways to help those in need. What better time than now to stop and think about this very important issue. Even though we aren’t going to “fix” the age wave that is bound to hit in tsunami proportions in 2030, we do have today to do something about this. We can consider acts of kindness that could make a difference in the lives of another during this glorious season.
What folks don’t realize, is most “caregiving” is rendered by other seniors and this is not something we expect to see change anytime soon. Perhaps this year, you should consider what you could do to help someone in need. Here are a few ideas to consider: Offer to help a senior who doesn’t have ready access to transportation. Consider giving your gift of time to someone who is shut-in who has difficulty leaving their home or perhaps visiting someone you know who is in a care facility. You could offer to shop or bake for or with them. Consider going with them to church.
If you don’t feel comfortable doing something so “out of the box”, a simple act of kindness, such as, assisting an older person in the grocery store who is struggling to reach a heavy item or offering to unload their groceries at check-out could be considered. You could offer to help a neighbor unload groceries or clear their sidewalk. It can be a fine line between being respectfully helpful and being intrusive. Sometimes I think this keeps us from offering to do such acts of kindness on an impulse. We don’t want to “intrude” or “get in their space.” What will it hurt to offer?
Growing older can sometimes be a very lonely time. This time of year can be particularly lonely for some. It is also a time for much good will. Livwell helps people every day who have seemingly insurmountable problems. Nothing like a brand new year to zip it back a bit and simplify. Just be kind. The world will continue to age and we will continue to have issues associated with financing programs and services. That will not change. But we can change. We can help. We can make a difference by one simple act at a time.
LivWell Seniors serves as a local agency providing community-based resources that are 100 percent FREE to seniors and their families, as they are funded by the senior care providers that utilize their service and network of connections. For further information, contact us at 563-265-1553, or visit our website at www.livwellseniors.com. “The GIFT of friendship … a willingness to listen, a pair of helping hands, a whisper from the heart. That someone CARES and understands.”
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