Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Think and Act 10.21.15 – Relating To the Elderly


Out of all the topics swirling around in my mind right now, this one stands out. I’m not sure where your attitude about the elderly may land. Maybe it’s worth a challenge.

Think. Act.

1. Do we care?

Let’s start here: do we even care about the elderly? How many elderly outside of your family would you call friends? Or contacts?

As you scroll through your phone, how many phone numbers of elderly do you see?

As an age group full of wisdom, beset with various struggles, in need in many ways, can we honestly say it’s on our radar to care about the elderly?

Have you been taught to stereotype older people as crabby complainers happy to stand in the way of progress? If so, consider backing away from that unhelpful slant and digging for a deeper perspective.

2. Yes, it’s complicated.

So let’s say we care. Then what? Well, anyone 30-50 may look at caring about the elderly in about the same way as caring about teenagers. Feelings of discomfort, unknown, and a large empathy gap may prevent us from trying.

I understand that. It’s complicated. Intentionally reaching out to people we don’t know can bring out fear, especially when an age gap almost ensures small amounts of things in common.

Pain, loss of loved ones, life long relationships ending, medical decisions: not much of this comes easy to people who have little experience with these dynamics.

But, should “complicated” prevent engagement?

3. Practical suggestions.

You don’t have to form deep friendships with elderly people in order to prove anything. You may have a desire but wonder where to start. If we will make any progress to greater understanding and wider perspective, some help may be in order.

Think through some of these basic suggestions, come up with your own, take a step.

  • Ask an elderly person their name. This allows their identity to come out. Nothing like an individual identity to tear down a large group stereotype.
  • Find out how to pray for an elderly acquaintance.
  • Ask an older member of your church how they’ve related to the recent sermon series. You might find some unique insight from their answer.
  • If you’re able to walk well, park as far away from entrances as possible, leaving spots closer for those who may not move as well.
  • Share a meal. This suggestion will challenge you to learn about anyone you don’t know as well.
  • Regularly send cards. For less money than you spend on pizza, you can communicate simple care and prayer in written format. Written format, remember, is a way most elderly have comfortably communicated for the majority of their lives. Communicating in familiar ways can only help expressing concern.

Think. Does anything here mean anything to you? Why or why not?

Act. Consider your care for the elderly. After doing that, consider doing something to bridge the gap of unknown and discomfort.


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