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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Soapbox: Patch Adam's #3...Honor Elders

Today another look at Patch's Prescriptions for a Better Society. This week I challenge us to try another, perhaps more complicated one of Dr. Adam's questions:  

If no one wants to end up in a nursing home, what kind of community can celebrate all ages together and honor elders? 

This seems a tough one to tackle if you are an individual.  But, think of small ways to integrate elders into your life and your children's lives on a routine basis.  Yes, it would be wonderful if there were developments or blocks with a tidy mix of ages and generations, but those are harder and harder to find as families spread out across miles and miles.  As a grandmother raising younger children I know both the blessings and the challenges of mixing generations. I think the blessings far outweigh the challenges. [At least most days I do!] 

Look around your neighborhood for people of other ages. If you attend a faith organization that may be the easiest place to find a range, but you can find them without that if you look.  Teach your children to make eye contact with elders in the neighborhood, smile, and say hello. Don't just stop at their house when your children have a magazine or gift wrap sale, stop by other times.  Consider inviting them to supper once in a while.  Maybe take them some leftovers now and then. [I almost always have enough leftovers to make a meal for a elder woman or man living alone.] If you are making a grocery run, check if they need something. If your kids go apple picking, share some.  It may not build a bond every time or with every one. But, for each connection you make your children will be richer and will have enriched the elders life as well. In this day when grandparents often live a distance away, your children will have other elders to cheer them on, celebrate their special days, to share stories of the past with, and more if you just start teaching your children to reach out and share their lives. 

Make and send them or deliver a Valentine's Day card!! It is a perfect excuse for starting to connect. 

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