51 Random Acts of Kindness Toward Seniors
Think about the last time someone did something nice for you, just because. It probably put a smile on your face. While we may be busy in our day, there’s a very deserving group who’d appreciate a kind gesture: seniors. Need some ideas? We have some—51, in fact. Remember, it isn’t about money or even planning. It’s about finding a moment to make a small difference in another person’s life. We invite you to brighten a senior’s day through a random act of kindness. You may find it will brighten yours too.
For those seniors you know:
- Send older relatives a card just to let them know you’re thinking about them.
- Consult with a senior loved one about a major life event in your life like changing careers, getting married or starting a family.
- Ask a senior friend or parishioner to lead you in prayer. The intimate bond may benefit you both.
- Pay a visit to an older friend who lives alone, in a retirement community or in the hospital.
- Surprise an elderly neighbor with a home-cooked or baked item.
- Offer to do grocery shopping for an older friend or neighbor.
- Take an older person’s dog for a walk or offer to clean the litter box.
- Download Big Band music to a CD, make copies and give them to older neighbors. Donate copies to senior centers, nursing homes or retirement communities.
- Take your laptop or iPad when you visit a senior. Use the technology to reference items from his or her past that come up in conversation.
- Give a dog a bone. Leave a bag of higher quality pet food or treats outside the door of an elderly pet owner.
- Surprise a neighbor by planting flowers to brighten his or her day and summer.
- Wash an older person’s car, just because.
- Offer to check and install new batteries in an older neighbor’s smoke alarms. While there, maybe change some light bulbs too.
- If you love to scrapbook, offer to arrange a senior’s photos into an album to help make perusing photographs more enjoyable.
- Find out if you share an interest with an elderly neighbor. If you both like to read, read the same book and discuss it. Or if you share a love for cooking, make a meal together or dine at a favorite restaurant.
- Volunteer to take an older person who no longer drives to church or synagogue.
- If you’re tech-savvy, spend time with a senior to show him or her how to use a computer— either his or her own or at a public computer lab. Demonstrate how to surf the web or send an email.
- Help a senior friend sort his or her mail to help make managing bills, personal mail and junk mail less of a chore.
- Spend an afternoon talking with an older person and listening to his or her music.
- Rake a senior’s yard, prune back bushes and pick up twigs and branches.
- Take a neighbor’s trash to the curb or take the newspaper to his or her door.
- Read the newspaper—even over the telephone—to a senior with poor eyesight.
- Set up a bird feeder outside an older person’s window at his or her home or retirement community. Stop by often to refill.
- Invite your senior neighbor over for a cup of tea, a holiday meal or summer cook-out.
- Offer a little help around the house by vacuuming, sweeping and mopping floors. Or, help make a bed with fresh linens or fold laundry.
- Pop up popcorn and spend the afternoon watching classic movies with an older adult.
- If you like to cook, offer to make a senior’s favorite dish or cookie. Exchange your “secret” recipes.
- Ask an older adult to share thoughts and ideas about the world around you.
- Make up a basket of fragrant soaps, hand creams and bath salts for an older woman. Every woman, at any age, loves to feel beautiful.
- Spend some time with the guys. Take an older man to a high school basketball game or drop by and watch a football game on TV. Ask him to share his sports’ days.
- Offer to take an older person on a Sunday afternoon drive around town or in the neighborhood where he or she grew up.
- Ask older relatives or neighbors to share their life stories. Offer to record the memories on video or tape to preserve for other family members.
- Give an older loved one a hug to warm up the heart and a smile.
- Seek advice from a senior. They have a lot of wisdom and experiences to impart.
For those seniors you’re soon to meet:
- Help a senior by returning an empty grocery cart to the store.
- On a rainy day, offer to escort an older adult to his or her car with an umbrella.
- Make her day. Compliment a senior woman’s dress or hairstyle.
- Drop off gently used magazines, books, puzzles and games to your local senior center.
- Help an older person at the store by reaching an item on the top or bottom shelf.
- Deliver flowers or meals to seniors from your church or temple who are ill or are in the hospital.
- Become a pen-pal. Socialization is key to a healthy life. Be an outlet for the senior to share his or her insights on a topic or simply how the day was spent.
- Look an elderly gentleman in the eye and greet him with a sincere “good day.”
- Take the time to hold open a door for an older adult. Offer your seat in a waiting room or your place in line.
- Share your talents with seniors at a nursing home. Offer to play old favorites on the community piano or bring your family or friends to make a craft.
- Share your children’s smiles and laughter with a visit to a retirement community, senior center or nursing home. Have them use bright crayons and markers to make holiday cards for seniors.
- Deliver and serve a meal at a senior center.
- Pick up the tab for an older person or couple while having lunch or getting a cup of coffee.
- Thank a veteran. Send a thank-you note to a local veterans’ lodge or retirement community asking the sentiment be shared with all residing veterans.
- Approach a working senior to ask his or her advice on how to get into that line of work or what he or she likes about the job or career.
- Strike up a conversation with a senior walking his or her dog in the park. Ask about the pet and share any pet stories of your own.
- Smile and ask how he or she is doing today.
Feel free to pass it on, just because.