Some of the people most strongly impacted by the isolation that the pandemic has caused are our senior citizens. They are considered at the highest risk for COVID to cause serious illness and hospitalization, as well as the highest mortality rate.
However, the isolation has caused emotional pain and seriously impacted their mental health. Many of our elderly may not have family living close by so they will have extremely little contact with others as well as limited help with things like obtaining groceries, medicine, and other necessities.
This is where our churches can step in and become the hands and feet of Christ during this difficult season. Identify the senior citizens in your congregation. They have unique needs during this time. Many of them may struggle with accessing online information like virtual church services and keeping up-to-date with the quickly changing information about COVID.
This is a great opportunity to use volunteers that normally would be physically active multiple times during the week in-person at your church, but now may not have that opportunity. Match families or individuals with the seniors in your church. Also encourage people to consider their neighbors. Who do they know that might be elderly and need some extra support during this time?
Some folks may naturally understand ways to help their neighbors; however, others may need guidance and suggestions. As a church, organize and teach your members how to care for the elderly in their neighborhood and church.
Give them the opportunity to serve by challenging them to call to check on seniors at least twice a week. Give them questions to ask, like:
- What groceries do you have currently?
- I’m going to be running errands, what can I pick up for you from the grocery store this week?
- Do you need meds picked up from the pharmacy?
- Do you have any doctor’s appointments that you may need help getting to?
- Do you have errands that you need to run that I could help with?
- I can drop by to take your trash down to the curb, what day does your trash get picked up?
- Do you have questions about what is going on right now with COVID?
- What are your plans for the holidays?
Challenge volunteers to also take a hot meal to them once a week, but especially on holidays. Many of our elderly are choosing not to be with family this year during the holidays to avoid exposure to COVID. That may make this season incredibly lonely.
You don’t want to make them nervous about exposure, but if you are making a ham for your family on Christmas Eve, then just make them a to-go plate and drop it off on their doorstep and ring their doorbell.
These are little gifts to give, but can make a huge difference in a person’s life this holiday season. We all want to spread some light and holiday cheer. What an easy way to lead your congregation in making a true difference and spreading the light of Christ in your community this season!