Helping the Elderly

  • Caring for the elderly should be a community effort—by bringing the problems of aging to the community.  Churches, businesses and neighborhoods can work together to address the problem of aging—providing labor and supplies to help with projects.  

“Cast me not off in the time of old age;
forsake me not when my strength faileth.”
(Psalms 71:9; 1 Timothy 5:8)


What You Can Do
  • Help the elderly find things to do so they feel needed and valued.  
  • Learn to be forgiving of your parents for mistakes they made as they raised you.  
  • Give your elderly parents and grandparents time and help.  Give them the love, honor, respect, and attention they deserve.  
  • Try to understand their point of view.  Be considerate of their desires, and their choice to be independent as long as possible.  
  • Include the elderly in decisions.  Let aging parents who become less able to care for themselves, participate in the decisions regarding their care, moving, hiring help, etc.  Talk openly with them, and try not to take away their independence.
  • Include the elderly in family meals and activities when possible, where grandparents can influence their grandchildren by reading, telling stories, and teaching life’s lessons—all of which can strengthen children.  
  • Provide transportation to those who need a way to get to medical appointments, church, visit loved ones, or shop.  
  • Provide additional ways for the elderly to continue their activities, if possible.  Spokane provides transportation for the elderly and disabled in our area.
  • Spokane Transit Authority will transport the disabled or the elderly over age 65  anywhere in the Spokane area at a very reasonable fee.  The reduced bus fair for the elderly with the proper ID is 75 cents.  
  • STA’s Paratransit fee is not age-related, but based on the inability of the person to ride a regular bus.  This fee is $1.25/ride, and will be raised to $1.50/ride on January 1, 2012.  The elderly must apply for a personal picture ID card and  number before using this service.  Call 325-6052 to apply for STA’s Paratransit Van Service.   (as of October 2011)  
  • Medvan is available to transport people who cannot drive themselves to medical appointments.  You must call 473-6377 at least 24 hours in advance for this service.  
  • Adjust their physical surroundings to suit them:  rugs, hand rails, ramps, etc.  
  • Do light housework/cooking in homes of the elderly or adults with disabilities.  
  • Do home repairs.   Make home modifications like installing grab rails in bathrooms, handrails by outside steps, ramps, etc.  
  • Do home and yard projects, such as painting or refinishing outdoor furniture for people who are disabled or elderly and for care facilities; or, help them find help from resources in the family, church and community.  
  • Build raised planter boxes so elderly and people in wheelchairs can enjoy gardening.
  • Help the elderly decorate their homes for the holidays; and then help them take down the decorations after the holiday.
  • Shop for shut-ins, and don’t forget to find out brand names and sizes of cans.
  • Deliver meals to home-bound elderly.  
  • Teach seniors computer skills, or help them with computer problems.  
  • At the death of a spouse, give loving care to the surviving elderly person.  
  • Visit your elderly neighbors.  Older people want visits more than gifts.  Plan unrushed time to talk.  Telephone an isolated, elderly person once a week.  
  • Consider service to the elderly in nursing homes, adult family homes, assisted living, and retirement communities.  Entertain or prepare a holiday program for the elderly, or help patients in nursing homes with their meals.  Help with activities, or offer to provide a craft project.  Help patients write letters to friends and loved ones, or address Christmas and birthday cards.  
  • Appreciate the lives of the elderly, by helping them record their life stories.  Help them gather important information in one place, and then help them write their personal and family histories, including documents and photos.  
  • Don’t forget to give the care-giver some support and help.  Offer temporary relief for family members who provide constant physical and emotional care of the elderly, or those with long-term or terminal illness.