“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”
– Diana Spencer
It feels great to have something nice done for you, doesn’t it? But, these days, life is fast-paced and it seems like no one has time to think about anyone but number one. There has been a movement, recently however, to commit “Random Acts of Kindness.” Sounds like a great idea, but how can one person really make a difference? If everyone tried just to do one deliberate act of kindness, the world would be so much better for it. It can sometimes be difficult to come up with suitable ideas and many think it may take a large amount of money or resources. However, some of the very best acts of kindness we can commit cost very little or nothing.
One of the largest demographics that could use a big dose of kindness and help are our elderly people. Whether it be a relative, a church member, a neighbor, or just someone random out in public, it is easy to find ways to help an older person. If you are at a grocery store, offer to return their buggy to the correct area or load their groceries for them. While you are out eating at a restaurant, pay attention to your surroundings. Many elderly people eat alone at restaurants and are lonely. If you see someone who looks in need of a friend, invite them to dine with you at your table. Some of the best conversations I have had are with complete strangers at a restaurant.
Many times our elderly are in poor or declining health. This means it is difficult for them to prepare meals, do yard work, run errands, or clean their homes. If you know someone that fits this description you can find endless opportunities to help. Talk to the person you may have in mind and offer to mow their grass weekly, go to the store for them, or bring by a home-cooked meal on a certain day. This gives them something to look forward to and will bring them much relief to not have to worry with these tasks. Elderly people are not always open with their needs and often do not want to bother other people. Do not wait for them to ask for help, offer and insist!
Retirement and nursing homes are full of people who need a good bit of cheer and kindness. Call ahead of time and see if there are any residents who do not often get a visitor. The nursing staff will be happy to direct you to some residents who may need “adopted.” Offer to stop by occasionally and simply visit with them. Small gifts are also a pleasant surprise for them and could include anything from a small bouquet of flowers to a book. It may sound cliché, but it’s the thought that counts…not the money spent.
If you have an elderly relative, such as a grandparent, there are several low or no cost options that don’t even take a lot of time or effort. Many forget that people from this generation communicated through letter writing. Simply sending a letter to your relative once a week gives them a big boost and keeps them in touch with what is going on in the family. For an added surprise, include a picture of your children or something in which they may be interested. Letter writing is a lost art and your elderly relative will appreciate this.
Do you have an elderly person in your life who loves to read but their eyesight is starting to fail? The internet is full of wonderful reading material that they might enjoy! Spend a little time once a week and pick out a few articles they might be interested in and print them out in a larger font. Slip them down into sheet protectors and add them to a ring bound notebook. You can add new articles each week to the same notebook and their love for reading can continue.
With a little bit of imagination and forethought you can bring an abundance of cheer and love to an elderly friend or relative. We are all going to be in their shoes one day (hopefully) so keep them in the top of your thoughts and do your part to help. It may just bring you more happiness than the people you help!