With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays it’s easy to forget those who are less fortunate. Not less fortunate in money and assets, but those who do not have family or company this holiday season.
There are many seniors who live in Assisted Living communities in your area who have family who live far away. Some have no children and don’t get a lot of visitors. For those with limited visitors, this time of year can be depressing and lonely.
While we are busy with our holiday planning, shopping and hectic schedules, remember that we can give our children a bigger gift than those on their holiday list.
The gift of compassion and giving!!
According to the National and Community Service website, volunteerism is at a 30 year high, fueled by three groups. These groups are older teenagers, mid-life adults and baby boomers. You can help this number continue to grow higher by encouraging your younger children to be a part of the volunteer experience.
Volunteering as a family is a wonderful option for those who want to “give back” to their community and use the experience as a series of teachable moments. Leading by example will teach your children the compassion in your family values and they will pass that on to their family as the years go by.
Some ways you can volunteer with your family this holiday season are as follows:
· Volunteer to help serve a meal at a senior center and sing holiday carols to the members.
· Offer to do a holiday craft with the residents of an Assisted Living community in your area.
· Visit those with very little family in your local nursing home. Encourage your children to draw holiday pictures and give them as to the seniors to help combat loneliness. Add a candy cane to make it even more festive for the holiday.
· Volunteer to have your children read books to the seniors who are bed bound. A child visitor can bring much joy to someone feeling alone.
· Volunteer to call a Bingo game and bring a grand prize to give away! (It could be an inexpensive box of candy or goodie bag with healthy snacks.)
What you choose to do is not as important as the fact that you are making the time to share a piece of yourself with others. The benefits to your children are endless if you introduce them to this experience at a young age. They will gain a sense of self-worth and importance in their community as well as build their confidence at a young age. Many times volunteering helps the person volunteering as much as it does to those with which they are sharing their time.
Volunteering is not limited to an Assisted Living or a Nursing Home. There are seniors right in your neighborhood that would also benefit from visitors. Offer to shovel their driveway, invite them to dinner or bring them a meal.
Most of all share your compassion and the importance of giving with your children not just during the holidays but also on a daily basis.
If you visit with a neighbor or a loved one and see that they need assistance and are not safe at home, Assisted Transition can help you with solutions to keep them safe. Find a local advisor near you here in the Chicago Western Suburbs.
Local Owner – Placement Director