Two years ago, I participated in a service day at my university. I was assigned to an assisted living center, where I had the great opportunity to talk with the residents there about some amazing life experiences they have had. This got me thinking, why haven’t I gone back? People who are elderly have so much wisdom and experience. We could learn so much from them its crazy.
However, they are often marginalized and relegated to an invisible place in society, especially when aging causes them to be able to function without daily assistance. Obviously, assisted living facilities and nursing homes are necessary and good. My grandma lived in one, which helped our family a great deal. But, I think more of us should try to change the future by learning from the past. What better way to do that than forming relationships with people that lived in the past? Additionally, by doing this, we would be helping people who, based on what I gleaned from my small experience two years ago, often feel lonely and forgotten, to feel loved.
That is why today’s suggestion for how to change the world is to volunteer at a nursing home or assisted living facility. I do not have too much experience with it, but from the experience I do have I know that spending time at these places is not sad or uncomfortable like some people may think. Another great thing about volunteering at a nursing home or assisted living facility is that you can do what you love. For example, I have heard of volunteers playing chess with residents each week, or giving manicures to some of the women… where else do you get to have so much fun? So, please consider volunteering with people who are elderly, if only for a day (maybe for Mandela Day 2013). I think you’ll be surprised at how great it is. I know I was.