Fountain of Youth

Ashley's Adopted Grannies

Photo © Paul O’Rear

From the time Ashley and Justin were young, they always had lots of adopted grandparents. The picture above is one of my many favorites of Ashley. It was taken at a Valentine Banquet that the young people at church hosted for the “Golden Agers” each year. The three ladies surrounding Ashley are some of her adopted grannies, whom she absolutely adored.

When Justin was a teenager, almost every Sunday after church his first order of business was to make the rounds, visiting with and giving hugs to all of his adopted grandparents. To this day, when he comes back home to visit, his after-church routine is the same.

When I was in junior high I became interested in genealogy. I have spent countless hours with my grandparents through the years, asking them questions about their childhood days, about their courtship and marriage, and about their memories of raising my parents. I loved to see their faces light up and hear the sweet nostalgia in their voices as they recounted their younger days.

When you invest your love in the lives of older people, you become their fountain of youth. (Tweet that!)

So here are some suggestions for being intentional about investing your love in the lives of older people.

If you have young children:

  • Take your children to visit a local nursing home. Visit with individual residents. Read to them. Take a portable CD player with speakers, and play music from their era.
  • Take your children to visit older people from your church in their homes. Notice pictures on display of their family, and ask about them. Bake some cookies and take to them. Find out what games they like to play, and spend an afternoon playing their favorites.
  • Invite older people into your home for dinner and listen to their stories.
  • Have your children interview older people about their lives.

Regardless of your age:

  • Make a point to talk to older people at church and in your neighborhood.
  • If you have older parents who live in a nursing home, assisted living center, or even a seniors apartment complex, participate in their games and other activities from time to time. Get to know some of the other residents.
  • Seek out opportunities in your community to show appreciation to local veterans.

There is a wonderful bonus to investing your love in the lives of older people. Not only do you bring joy to them; if you pay attention to their stories and the things they share with you, you will find your own horizons of knowledge and understanding being broadened, and you will gain from their wisdom.

What are some other ways to invest your love in the lives of older people? Share your ideas in the comments below.


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