- Interject a Bible passage related to the subject at hand – why He allows suffering, for instance, or what we must do to be saved, or how this life is a blink of an eye and the best is yet to come. A personal favorite: 2 Corinthians 4:17-18.
- Talk about what Christ has done in your own life. Just one example: describe a recent experience that would have devastated the “old” you, but has presented the “new” you with an opportunity for reflection, repentance, or rejoicing.
- Comment on the message delivered by a secular TV program – for instance, one that denied the existence of God, or illustrated the collapse of biblical values in our culture.
- Ask the resident what he or she thinks heaven will be like, and who will be there. Be prepared to share what the Bible has to say on the subject.
- Offer to pray for him or her, and segue into the power of prayer – and perhaps into the attributes and character of God, and how much He loves this world and everyone in it.
- Search out and biblically address an area of particular interest. For instance, if an elderly man enjoys discussing current events, be prepared to show him how much of today’s news first appeared on the pages of the Bible -- in Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38, for example.
- Invite residents to an upcoming, on-site Christian event. Many facilities conduct their own worship services or hymn sings, or allow local churches to do so. Familiarize yourself with these opportunities and spread the word.
- Offer to read from the Bible—perhaps using an easy-to-understand modern translation. Consider starting with gripping and easy-to-follow books like Genesis or Ruth, or begin with a beloved and familiar passage such as Psalm 23 or the Sermon on the Mount.
- Be ready to share the gospel using your favorite approach – Evangelism Explosion’s, the Way of the Master’s, or some other orderly, memorable and proven technique for leading the lost to the Lord.
- Keep some large-print gospel tracts on hand as leave-behinds. Ask your church to order some; or use a favorite tract as an outline to create your own, printing it out on heavy paper or card stock.
Want to share the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with nursing-home residents? Bless your heart! You’ll of course want to begin by praying for soft hearts and personal wisdom before (and during) each visit. Then, to bring the Lord into the conversation, consider these idea starters:
I’ve just been catching up on my Understanding the Times listening, and heard host Jan Markell’s outstanding, multi-topic interview with Christian economist John Terry.
Among the topics they discuss in this episode, entitled "As It Was in the Days of Noah," is long-term care (LTC) -- now approaching an average cost of $90,000 a year in facilities across the nation, and climbing at a rate of almost 6% a year.
If you think these statistics won't affect you, think again: As Terry points out, roughly 70% of people over 65 are expected to experience some sort of chronic healthcare event requiring some measure of LTC assistance. Nevertheless, relatively few have given much thought about how they would pay for that help.
Of those who expect to be among the 70%, some plan to cover it with their own funds – which is fine if you have millions in the bank.
Others figure that the government will take care of them. Trouble is, that sort of help begins only after you’ve depleted almost all your own resources. And then there’s the issue of finding a bed set aside for what is, for the providers, a losing proposition; I know people who are desperately searching for LTC beds today, and we baby boomers haven’t even begun to be a factor in the rationing that’s sure to come.
Still others purchase private long-term-care insurance policies. They’re not cheap, but for those of us of modest means, it may be the only solution that makes sense.
If you have any concerns about how you’ll survive your golden years financially, don’t miss this episode of Understanding the Times!
Yesterday I saw a TV commercial that said, in effect, buy our service or – horror of horrors! – you might end up in a nursing home.
Now I will admit that there are some crummy facilities out there. One could no doubt create a bell curve for this subject, with a minority of homes under the leading edge of care and compassion, a minority under the trailing edge, and the vast majority landing somewhere in the middle.
But if you can find a great facility under that leading edge, chances are you’ll be much better off there than you would be living with your kids – a situation that has a bell curve of its own.
The nursing home where I hang out is one of those leading-edge places. Yes, there will always be a few discontented residents who never get past the fact that there are no family members or friends begging them to come live in their homes. But almost all get over it within a matter of months. They begin basking in the love of neighbors and staff – and thriving in activities designed to meet their needs and abilities precisely.
If you think you’d rather live with your children rather than in a great nursing home, consider:
In a great nursing home, on the other hand, you’ll be able to talk such things over, at your leisure, with people who’ve been there, done that. And you’ll also have the chance to share your memories in regular events designed specifically for that purpose. These sessions usually involve small groups of men and women with backgrounds and abilities similar to your own – no worries about not being as articulate as the next fellow. And they are run by staff members who not only appreciate your wisdom, your history and your observations, but are also vitally interested in what you have to say.
And that’s just the start.
In a great nursing home, you’ll never be in the way. There won’t be anyone trying to figure out what to do with you while he or she is off at work or out with friends. There won’t be any need to try to hide as those inevitable family dramas play themselves out. You won’t have to suffer the sting of watching your son- or daughter-in-law biting his or her tongue simply because you’re within ear-shot.
Just as important, in a great nursing home, your care won’t be delivered by amateurs who don’t know how to perform even the most basic caregiving functions; who are not trained to recognize the early signs of potentially devastating disorders from UTIs to bed sores; who won’t be there to hold your hand in the middle of the night, because they’re sound asleep. Instead, you’ll be cared for by people whose job it is – literally! – to enhance your health, comfort and happiness.
Yes, there will be some crummy and cross workers in any long-term-care facility. But they normally do not last long: It’s very hard work, and it doesn’t always pay all that well, and only those who have a real affection for the elderly tend to stay for the long haul.
So how do you identify a great nursing home?
Beyond making the obvious observations about everything from capabilities to cleanliness, I’d spend some time at each serious candidate before committing. I’d ask to observe some of the activities I might be interested in, and to talk with at least a few current residents.
I’d also ask various managers and workers about their faith – because when people who love the Lord Jesus Christ are charged with caring for your heart and your soul, you can bet that His love is going to be an ever-present comfort and joy to you as the final chapters of your life unfold.
Note that this doesn’t mean you need to find an explicitly religious facility. I suspect it might be even better to find one that is staffed by people of faith, who build their monthly calendars around events that glorify the Lord not because they have to, but because they want to.
These are among the reasons I have such a problem with advertisements like the one mentioned above – the brainchildren of copywriters and clients who think that living in a nursing home is a fate worse than death. These advertisers may well offer services that are right for some people; but I wish they’d simply highlight their credentials rather than trying to scare people away from their competition.