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"and with His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5

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« on: February 08, 2006, 06:37:36 AM »

Nursing Home Ministry

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:37-40)

If you are looking for an opportunity to teach your children to serve and to unselfishly give of themselves, a nursing home may be the perfect place. The needs are so great.  Whatever your particular gift, you will find the opportunity to use it with these dear people. When you see their faces literally light up with a smile or when someone finally warms up to you after months of earning their trust, or when they cry over some small gift your brought them, you will be the one who feels blessed.

Pray about this and seek God's will for your family. There is probably no way to completely prepare you or your children for what you will see if you have never been in a nursing home.  I can only say that it will get easier.  Always remember to talk with your children about the things they see and hear.   It may not be easy at first.  In the beginning my children and I both wondered at times if this was the place for us, but we are glad now that we hung in there and met this new challenge. My children now know the blessing of serving.  They have learned compassion and understanding for the elderly.  They have also developed confidence in themselves for meeting this challenge and learning the skills needed to help.  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Galations 6:9)

If you are interested in volunteering at a nursing home, I strongly recommend contacting the Sonshine Society for a Free Power Packet. This includes a training guide, samples of large print materials and informational material on the Sonshine Society. This material would be helpful for you to read with your children before you get started. When we got started in this ministry, we did not know of this resource and knew absolutely nothing about nursing homes or the elderly.  This is not the easiest way to start.  Take advantage of this wonderful resource. The more prepared you are, the more you will enjoy  this ministry.

After you look through your Free Power Packet from Sonshine Society, I would suggest contacting the activity director of a nursing home close to your home. Choosing a nursing home close to your home makes it easy to stop in often. Ask if you and your children can observe a few activities or assist with one before you fly solo. It is very helpful to watch someone with experience to see how they interact with the residents.

Be creative.  Think about how to use your particular gifts as you serve.

Here are a few suggestions on areas that you could serve at a nursing home:
(Some of these would be great for one on one activities, others would be great for group activities, and some would work well for both.)

Games (e.g. checkers, tic-tac-toe, bingo, bean bag toss, etc.)
Read to them - Many cannot read.
Visit - Sometimes this means more than anything.
Pray with them
Share the gospel
Write letters for them
Scripture reading
Arts and crafts
Nails - They love polished nails!
Singing - This can be done with them or for them as a group activity. (I have read that residents love this!  This, unfortunately, is not my gift.)
Plays & skits performed for them
Adopt a grandparent
Pet therapy (check with the activity director first)

These are special areas you may want to serve:
(Ask for a list of residents who have little or no visitors, new residents, or birthdays for the month. If the activity director has time, ask if she will tell you a little about the resident before you visit.)

Welcome gift & visit with a new resident - Remember, this is not an easy time for them.
Birthday basket - Decorate a basket a fill it with items from a dollar store. (e.g. socks, stuffed animal or doll, Bibles, jewelry, perfume, deodorant, lotion, etc.) Always ask a nurse or the activity director before you give a resident anything to eat. Some have special treats they like while others may not have anything at all because of diet restrictions or health.
Christmas Gifts - This would be a great project for a homeschool group or church.  Make up gift bags using colored lunch bags and fill them with little gifts. Remember, never give a resident any type of food or candy without first checking with a nurse or activity director.
Tammy Cobb http://homeschool.crecon.com/nh.html ©1999

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"and with His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5

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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2006, 06:40:56 AM »

Almost unnoticed in the flood of Christian ministries today is a small company of men and women quietly involved in the Nursing Homes of our land as ambassadors for our Lord Jesus Christ and witnesses of His love and saving grace. It is projected that unless God intervenes over 50 million of the people now living in the U.S. will spend their last days in a Nursing Home. Faced with these staggering numbers, the Christian church is becoming increasingly aware of both the opportunity and obligation of Nursing Home Ministry. If we are to dream of an outreach to the ďfour corners of the earthĒ we must not and cannot neglect our very own at our very door in their hour of greatest need.

Nursing Home Ministry, A Manual


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"and with His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5

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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2006, 06:42:25 AM »

ďLook at me!!Ē

What do you see world what do you see??

What are you thinking when youíre looking at me, a crabby old woman, not very wise?

Uncertain of habit, with far-away eyes, who dribbles her food and makes no reply, when you say in a loud voice, ďI do wish youíd try!Ē

Who seems not to notice the things that you do, and forever losing a sock or a shoe, who, resisting or not, letís you do as you will- with bathing and feeding, the long day to fill.

Is that what youíre thinking? Is that what you see? Then open your eyes world youíre not looking at me!

Iíll tell you what I am as I sit here so still, Iím a small child often, with father and mother, sisters and brothers who love one another.

A young girl of sixteen with wings on her feet, dreaming that soon a lover sheíll meet.

A bride soon, at twenty, my heart gives a leap, remembering the vows that I promise to keep.

At twenty-five now, I have young of my own, who need me to build a secure, happy home.

A woman of thirty now my young ones grow fast, bound to each other with ties that should last.

At forty, my young sons are grown and are gone, but my manís beside me to see I keep strong.

At fifty, Once more babies play Ďround my knee, again we know children, my loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me, my husband is DEAD!! I look at the future, I shudder with dread.

For my young are all rearing young ones of their own and I think of the years and the love that Iíve known.

Iím an old woman now and nature is cruel, Ďtis her jest to make old age look like a fool.

The body is crumbled, grace and vigor depart. There is now a stone where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass, a young girl still dwells, and now and again my battered heart swells, I remember the joys, I remember the pain, and Iím loving and living life over agin.

I think of the years all too few, gone too fast, and accept the stark fact that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, world, open and see Ė LOOK CLOSER Ė SEE ME!!!!

~By a ďCrabby Old WomanĒ

Found in the personal effects of a senile old lady Ė she spent her last days in a Nursing Home.

Copyright © 1977-2005 SonShine Society

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"and with His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5

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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2006, 06:45:05 AM »

by Myrth Hudgins

If you fear death and donít want that fear intensified by seeing it on many faces where I live, donít come.

If strange behavior bothers you, donít come. Some of us have receded from reality. Some reality is too painful to face.

If you find it difficult to communicate with people who canít immediately give you a warm positive response, donít come.

If you would feel uncomfortable shouting into my deaf ears or talking to my unfocusing eyes, donít come.

If you have problems that need to be solved, donít come. Stay home and solve them, donít come share them with me. I have my own problems that overwhelm me. I canít help you.

If you expect that I can return your first smile and invite you to sit down for a stimulating conversation, donít come. I might just as likely frown at you and make you feel unwanted.

But if you could understand how I feel deep down inside, youíd not feel rejected. Youíd somehow know that I need your friendship even more than if I could smile and welcome you.

I have no one. My family and friends are gone; Iíve outlived them all. Thereís no one to give me the 24-hour nursing care I now need. I understood this when I came here, and Iíve told myself many times that this nursing home is the only place for me.

But Iíve ached with loneliness so long that I now feel only bitterness. This is why I may not smile at you at first, if you come. I hope God can forgive me; I canít seem to feel otherwise.

I donít think I really matter as a person anymore. I can do very little for myself and nothing for others. Modern drugs have kept me alive beyond my years of usefulness.
My world has been reduced to monotonous meals on trays in bed, pills for pain at regular intervals and services of nurses for my bodily functions. Having to let others take care of my simplest needs drains me of my dignity as a human being.

Now that you may understand how I feel Ė
Can you come to see me and keep coming so that I can dare to trust you not to desert me? I have nothing to offer you except my memories, and often theyíre confused. But perhaps if I can share them out loud, I can begin to think more clearly.

Have you the patience to hear out my bitterness until Iíve emptied myself of it? Can you bring news of what goes on outside this place to reinstate reality to me before itís too late Ė before the shell of senility enshrouds me?

Can you come to give me something to think about besides myself; my narrow world, and my death? If not, donít come.

But if you donít come, please pray to God that He may move the heart of someone who can come to visit me. He knows that I need a friend.

Copyright © 1977-2005 SonShine Society

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