1. Visit residents regularly (ideally, at least once or twice a month) to develop relationships conducive to sharing the Gospel.
2. Conduct regular (monthly, or semi-monthly) Christian services for the residents – a Hymn Sing complete with lyric booklets, or a formal church service, or a hybrid of the two.
3. Support the home's Activities staff, for instance by pushing residents to and from scheduled activities, delivering the mail, helping with decorations, alphabetizing the library -- whatever's needed.
4. Serve as a wheelchair pusher on field trips to, for instance, the zoo.
5. Lend a hand in the garden throughout the growing season, by helping out with planting, fertilizing, dividing, and weeding.
6. Conduct a semi-monthly Bible study for two residents or twenty.
7. Hold a monthly discussion group based on a favorite Christian program – for instance, services featuring a sermon by Charles Stanley or the late Adrian Rogers. (You'll most likely find videos of your favorites on youtube.com)
8. Develop a hands-on craft program featuring your favorite craft – or help an Activities staffer make an existing program even more fulfilling for residents by helping them produce their own crafts.
9. Bring animals into the picture by, for instance, arranging a staff dog show or
arranging for a local horse trainer to put on a show.
10. Get your own dog trained in Canine Good Citizenship (almost a necessity unless your dog is very mellow and good-natured) and visit the many residents who love dogs and so miss being around them.
11. Teach residents the basics of email, one on one.
12. Do manicures.
13. Offer to run errands for residents – for instance, to shop for toiletries or nightgowns or whatever else is difficult for a facility-bound resident to buy.
14. Make and bring “just like fresh, only better” silk flower arrangements to selected residents, bringing a new one on each visit and moving each arrangement to the next one on your list.
15. Raise funds for Activities through your own social or church network – for instance, to sponsor indigent residents’ participation in a field trip or restaurant outing.
16. Offer to help with a task or two that requires a lot of time on Activities’ part, but no special training – for instance, word games or Bingo.
17. If you have writing skills, establish yourself as a facility biographer – interviewing residents, writing up their life stories, maybe even creating literary scrapbooks complete with photos. (Note: If you did a great job, this might be the start of a wonderful little business.)
18. Ditto, but conducting audio or audio/video interviews of residents.
19. Make it your business to identify individual resident’s interests, and then address those interests with books, videos, articles – whatever strikes your fancy.
20. Record yourself reading books, stories, Bible passages or devotionals and supply interested residents with the tools to listen to them.
21. Specialize in your choice of challenges – in reaching out to someone silenced by dementia, or hard of hearing and hard of heart, or ensnared in a cult. There’s always someone particularly difficult who will respond to love, kindness and patience.
22. Find a way to give residents purpose and meaning – for instance, folding bulletins for your church, or helping them bake cookies or make notecards to sell to raise funds for a dream outing, or conducting a semi-monthly prayer meeting.
23. Start a Senior College, researching and presenting on subjects that are of interest to you, and you’re certain would be of interest to them. Tying a biblical worldview in would be wonderful. For instance, how about an art history lecture series, tapping into Nancy Pearcey’s fantastic book Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning … or a series on the evolution of music, using Frank Garlock videos (you can pick them up from youtube.)
24. Hand-make useful items for residents and then deliver them to a list prepared for just this purpose by Activities. For example, crocheted or knitted lap robes or shawls are always needed. “Twiddlers” are a nifty new idea – made of a material such as fleece, they are similar to muffs with things like balls and fringes attached to keep busy hands occupied.
25. Conduct a Share Your Faith class for residents, prepping them to witness to their loved ones.
Have more suggestions? Please send them to me at kitty@EverlastingPlace.com.