Live all the days of your life!
We live in exciting times. Science is extending life through drugs, organ transplants and preventative medicine. However, many people who now live longer are actually living less.
Science has enabled us to add more years to our lives. However, we need to learn how to put more living into those years. As life lengthens there often comes a dreadnot a dread of death, but of long hours of loneliness when one is deprived of companionship and/or activity.
Senior Care Fund staff and volunteers reach out to lonely, sick and handicapped elderly people who need love, care and friendship. For many people we provide the companionship, family and supportive environment they need and want.
We provide financial aid to a network of skilled and caring people helping the elderly to age with dignity and overcome loneliness through counseling and friendship.
Ivyle was 87 when I met her—sharp, sprightly, and the best pianist I’ve ever known. A top-of-the-line professional musician, she had served as organist in numerous churches through the years. But also, much earlier, she had accompanied “silent movies” with appropriate improvisations she had learned directly from famous jazz musicians Fats Waller and Jelly Roll Morton.
I’d just taken a job as a hospital chaplain, a kind of “circuit rider” ministering among 4,000 frail elderly people in 32 nursing homes in northern California. Ivyle volunteered to serve on one of our worship and visitation teams. For the next ten years she would go with me and a group of “Cheergivers” to several different nursing homes to lead worship, sing, and mix with the residents. She knew all the old hymns and was full of life, sharing her enthusiasm and faith with scores of lonely and forgotten people.
Eventually her health failed as did that of her husband Maury, and they ended up in one of those nursing homes together. He lasted only three months. But Ivyle couldn’t be constrained. She would gather other residents around the piano in their wheelchairs and lead them in singing show tunes, hymns, and ballads that stirred their memories and brought back happier times. And she continued doing that until 2008, when she turned 100 and finally said goodbye to this world.
I look back now on that experience as the richest, most memorable period of my life. Every day I met someone new. I had the joy of working with wonderful people like Ivyle. There was a constant sense of the value and meaning of life . . . a freshness to each new morning. I challenge you—if you want to make a difference in the lives of others, visit the elderly in your local nursing home. You will rediscover joy!
—Merv Chaplin is a former hospital chaplain who currently serves as President of Senior Care Fund.
Senior Care Fund is an affiliate of Worldwide Affiliated Ministries, which provides personnel and management services free of charge. Because of this affiliation, Senior Care Fund’s overhead was kept to a low 1.5% last year.
Useful links: Combined Federal Campaign info for Senior Care Fund | Give online now!