Seniors have sometimes been termed the forgotten generation in America. During the COVID-19 pandemic this generation has become the highlight of many media stories. Sadly, for all the wrong reasons. Institutionalized seniors have been hardest hit by the pandemic in terms of testing positive to the coronavirus, suffering through its effects and ultimately succumbing to it. But, perhaps equally as difficult, has been the medically-appropriate but painful solitary confinement imposed upon institutionalized seniors. Many are isolated from family and friends, in a single room day after day, an intractable cell of four walls growing up around them. No matter how loving and caring the staff, when these seniors encounter another human person, it is a masked and gloved presence. Many seniors have also endured the loss of companions who live just a few doors down the hall from them. These factors in combination have created grim, solitary environments for many seniors.
We want to help shine Light into these dark worlds!
Park Street Church families with children are responding to the invitation to join our Senior Buddy program.
One such family is Ben and Ruthie Swilling along with their children Lily (11) and Caleb (9). Ben is a robotics engineer and Ruthie is an attorney- both are working from home while home-schooling. This is an incredibly busy and confined little household. But during COVID-19 they want to make room in their family for one more person – a senior buddy.
Ruthie explains why, “We are looking for a volunteer opportunity, in which our children can participate with us. Both my husband and I work full-time, as such, in-person opportunities are difficult for us. We are intrigued by this unique volunteer opportunity, as it provides remote opportunities to volunteer, such as letter writing and Zoom sessions.”
Another mom explained that making cards, writing letters, doing art projects, reading books on zoom and preparing videos of the children performing music are going to become part and parcel of their home-schooling agenda.
In describing God’s relation to seniors in Israel, Isaiah said this, “. . . even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save” (Is 46:4). Perhaps, we can imitate our Father in heaven and we can help to carry our senior friends through simple and tender acts of kindness and love that bring light and hope in dark days.