The Benefits of Spending Time With the Elderly
Growing up, I attended church and was taught about the power of developing and maintaining a deep relationship with Christ. One of the aspects of being a Christian that I enjoyed most was serving others. I enjoyed getting up around 4 a.m. around Thanksgiving and Christmas to make holiday baskets for the homeless, and then passing them out. I loved the calm, innocent, and peaceful vibe in the air that brought everyone together. Singing songs within the choir, and being a part of the plays that touched the souls of many, brought me great joy. Taking a role in these activities reiterated the importance of selflessness, giving, and lending a helping hand.
One of the activities I learned the most from was volunteering at the nursing homes. I realize I learned so much through the process of caring for those who are older than me. I am astounded by how much I grew as an individual through my interactions with the older residents.
In addition to learning about selflessness, generosity, and lend a helping hand, the benefits of spending time with the elderly are multifold. I've listed several of my favorites, below.
Learn to Be Caring, Thoughtful, Kindhearted
Older people may not be as young anymore, but they still would like to be treated with respect. Sometimes younger children and adults alike feel that much older adults can’t relate, or lack a concept of time. Elders are often ignored, rarely taken seriously, and sometimes laughed at. They don’t want to feel as if you are no longer concerned and waiting on them to die. Many of them experience abuse. Old age is supposed to be a blessing, something honorable.
A comfortable old age is the reward of a well spent youth. Instead of its bringing sad and melancholy prospects of decay, it would give us hopes of eternal youth in a better world.— Maurice Chevalier
Learn Discipline, Patience, and Attentive Listening
Although there are those who may be significantly more self sufficient and upbeat, some elderly people can be very fragile and need to be handled carefully. As they have gotten older, they may be slower than a younger individual is, and find it more difficult to get around. Many of them speak softer, take longer to communicate a thought, and do not hear very well.
Develop Social Skills, Communication Skills, and Companionship
Having older friends can aid in molding you into a well rounded individual. Remember that everybody needs somebody and sometimes older people can get lonely. They have feelings too. Taking the time to make sure that your elders have a companion ensures you companions too when you are of age. Other friends and loved ones may have passed on, and its nice to have someone to talk to and keep you company. They may not be able to do very strenuous tasks but that teaches you to enjoy the simple things of life.
Gain Wisdom Beyond Your Years
Despite the myth that older people can’t relate or lack understanding, they have a rich knowledge and a heap of experience on various subjects. You can discover a number of different ways to accomplish tasks, make better decisions, and learn more about great events that took place in history, that they lived through from their perspective.
Learning from the mistakes of others so that you do not make the same mistakes is very wise. Many people today would say that times have changed, or the situations or struggles are not quite the same. But in continuing to do things their way, those same people will often tell you that they wished they would have listened when others were trying to advise them. It would have saved them a lot of hardship and pain. Training yourself, taking the advice of others who have experienced certain things into account, multiple options, and a plan may all help prepare for things to come.
In life, sometimes the issues we encounter can make coping hard. It helps to have someone behind you to encourage you, cheer you on, and open you up to different viewpoints that you may not have considered about your situation. We gain strength from positive enforcements. Many older people have lived very fulfilling lives. Listening to their stories about earlier times in their lives, their tough times; how there seemed to be no way until they made one, and witnessing how it made them a better person lets you know that you can do it, too.
Time Management and Inspiration
Spending time with the elderly can provide an even greater appreciation for life. The quote at the beginning of this composition rings true. In old age one comes to the realization that their life may soon be ending, It would be much better to live out your last days in peace with a calm spirit. Knowing that you’ve used your time wisely, and made the most of your life would bring a smile. You wouldn’t want to reach the end of your life being bitter, alone, full of regrets, and dissatisfied; feeling as if life robbed you. Realizing just how short life is, you would be educated about your endeavors.
Finally, the friendships, lessons, and character traits attained from sitting with your elders would provide you with a plethora of memories to last throughout your lifetime, and pass down throughout your own family.
Bob Hope said, “I’ll tell ya how to stay young: Hang around with older people.” For all of the benefits that come with doing so, I have to say that I whole heartedly agree.