Giving Attention to the Elderly and the Infirm
1 How strengthening it is to have in our midst numerous older brothers and sisters who have spent many years in faithful Kingdom service. Yes, those who over the years have gained experience in serving Jehovah are a source of encouragement to all of us. Their gray-headedness is indeed a crown of beauty and their presence an enrichment to the congregation.—Prov. 16:31.
2 While benefiting from the spiritual gifts that such older ones may have to offer, we must keep in mind that advancing years also bring problems of various kinds. (Eccl. 12:1-5) Are we attentive to the personal needs of our older brothers and sisters, and are we ready to render kind and loving assistance? (John 13:34, 35) Their needs may vary greatly.
3 At times the need may be for companionship to help dispel loneliness, but often they may require practical assistance with transportation, shopping, housework, or other routine chores or errands. Although spiritually strong, an older brother or sister may no longer be physically able to care for a number of necessary things. Others in the congregation, although not advanced in years, may need similar assistance because of being infirm or physically handicapped.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
4 The primary responsibility for helping the elderly and the infirm rests upon family members and other relatives. However, spiritual brothers and sisters must show concern and be ready to help out. Providing transportation to the meetings is one way that help can be given. Association with our faithful older ones at meetings means a great deal to them, and if their health permits, they will eagerly accept your kind invitation to accompany you to the Kingdom Hall. Another way of showing loving-kindness is to extend hospitality by inviting older ones for a meal or just for Christian fellowship.
5 When field service arrangements are being made, do you try to include older ones? Their physical limitations may require you to select a territory that will not be too strenuous for them. Taking older publishers on return visits and Bible studies could be an encouragement to the householders. Usually the zeal of these older ones for the ministry has not diminished, and if we do what we can to arrange for them to share, they will be happy for the opportunity and contribute to the witness given.
6 Those not able to attend the meetings regularly no doubt sense the loss of association with their brothers. Could some measures be taken to share highlights from the meetings with them? They will also appreciate receiving the latest publications. If the older one has failing eyesight, he may appreciate having someone read portions of the Bible and the Society’s publications to him.
7 Just to know that we care can mean so much. A brief, upbuilding visit or phone call can uplift the spirits of someone confined to home. You will likely find that your own joy will increase as in this way you follow the Biblical command at 1 John 3:18 to love “in deed and truth.” May Jehovah bless all you do to assist our faithful older and infirm ones.