Service Projects for Kids: Service Projects to Help the Elderly, Ideas to do with KIDS

Many elderly live on fixed incomes, do not have someone to look out for them, and may be living in a nursing home or an assisted living facility. The number of people reaching the status of elderly is increasing.  Although countries differ as to what percentage of their population is elderly right now, the US’s elderly population will double in 25 years.  According to an article in the New York Times, the number of children under 15 will be outnumbered by the elderly by 2050, across the world.

Why on Earth do I bring this up?  We need to be more active in caring for our elderly, and we need to teach our children to do the same.  I have lived in several communities where I went weeks and did not see a single elderly person.  As I am being more deliberate with my boys on reaching out to others, I realize that this is a shame.

My boys need to feel comfortable around the elderly.  Not only that, they need to learn the value that the elderly bring to society and our communities.

 

Here are a couple of lists outlining acts of service that kids can do.  Some of these will take several days to complete if you go about serving 15-20 minutes at a time (that’s what we do).  Some of these can be easily done several times and others less frequently. 

Teach Children to Be Mindful

of the Elderly in the Community

  • Help a senior in your neighborhood or church congregation.  Be open to asking if help is needed at home with minor projects, cleaning, or offering rides to the grocery story.
  • Offer to pay for a meal for a senior at a restaurant.  Our local hamburger join is the hot spot for seniors in our community.  The boys are always excited to offer to play for a meal!
  • Be aware of when you need to slow down with your children and let an elderly person pass you instead of rushing past them.  Give them your time and your attention just as this little boy did on The Good Long Road.
  • During holiday time, look for opportunities to interact with the elderly as these times can be particularly lonely.  During the last Memorial Day weekend, we helped clean gravesites of relatives for several elderly patrons that didn’t have the resources to do it themselves.
  • Sign up to deliver with Meals on Wheels (once you complete the short required training, you can bring your children along for the meal deliveries).
  • Adopt a grandparent, whether a neighbor or a resident in an assisted living facility.  Visit on a regular basis.

Service Projects to Help Seniors

 

Service Ideas to Help the Elderly

Living in Facilities: 

Great for Younger & Older Kids

NOTE on Selecting a Facility to Visit:  Not all facilities that serve the elderly are appropriate for kids.  I highly recommend visiting it beforehand and meeting with the Director of Activities about what you would like to do.  You will quickly get a sense on whether the place is a good place to support positive interactions between your children and the residents.
 
NOTE on Communicating with Facility Personnel:  You might find, as we have, that many nursing home directors run away from you when you put “visit” and “kids” in the same sentence.  I think they envision an invasion of 100 snotty, germy noses.   If you are finding this is the case, as you talk to them:
1)  Try focusing on talking about how your family would like to visit. 
2)  Be prepared with specific ideas on what you would like to do. 
3)  Share stories of service where children have successfully helped out a senior or nursing home.

Simple Ideas!

      • Decorate doors for a holiday or birthdays.
      • Create cards and pictures to drop off or take when visiting.
      • If you want to make a long term commitment and would rather send letters and packages, Senior Angels is perfect!

Let’s Eat!

      • Attend a lunch at retirement home, play a game with them, and leave a nice treat or note for the staff.
      • Hold a canned food or toiletry drive for key items that nursing homes need for their residents.

Entertainment Time!

      • Put on a variety or talent show!  The kids can sing their favorite songs, tell their favorite knock-knock jokes, and share their special talents!
      • Sponsor a dance party for a nursing home where residents and children can dance to the residents’ favorite songs
      • Consider completing a service project for a nursing home during a birthday party.  We did this, invited our friends, and had a marvelous time!
      • Donate games or supplies for birthday celebrations.
      • With friends, go sing at nursing homes, particularly during holiday times.

Service Ideas to Help the Elderly

Living in Facilities:

Great for Older Kids

      • Sign-up to be a reader for a  resident in a nursing home. 
      • Become a pen pal with a senior.
      • Help a senior use the computer.
      • Volunteer to record a senior’s favorite memories or family history.
      • Help preserve cherished photos.

Create Taggie blankets for seniors.  Use the same idea for making a child’s Taggie blanket.   Sew tags and other items for hands to manipulate on the blanket:  zippers, buttons, and long ribbons to tie.   Add a long tie on each side so it can be tied to the wheelchair.  Taggie blankets for Seniors, designed by Sylvia of Flying Stitches

Taggie Blanket for the Elderly

Want to see more examples on how to serve the elderly population?  Check out the Pinterest Board:  Serve the Elderly

Would love to hear ideas you have on serving the elderly!

Pennies of Time is an established 501(c)(3) organization entirely run by unpaid volunteers

We provide resources for families to raise kind kids and create compassionate problem solvers through acts of kindness and service projects.

Exercise Kindness Wisely. Adult supervision is recommended for every project and activity featured on this website. Please read the instructions for each activity thoroughly before deciding whether it is appropriate for your child(ren). Pennies of Time is not responsible for any damage or injury while replicating activities described on this website.

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