Alive…but forgotten and alone

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By Irene Tegeler,

I live in a wheelchair due to a spinal cord injury several years ago. During the long months of recovery, I lived in various assisted living facilities. As difficult as that was for me, it has given me great insight into the needs of those who are no longer able to care for themselves. Many have family that visit and friends who come by, but there are also many who have little personal contact with family and friends. They are the “living and forgotten”.

Now that I am living once again in my own home, I realize how fortunate I am. That is why I said “Yes!” when my cousin, a retired pastor, asked if I would go with him to sing and share at various times to several care facilities. I also have a friend who plays the violin and helps out. As I have traveled around, I have noticed that few others who are retired do the same. Retirement years can be times of great service to reach out, not just thru your church or community, but on your own.

Most communities have adult care facilities of some nature. Look them up in the phone book. Ask if there are folks who could use a visit once a month. It doesn’t have to be a long visit, but as regular as possible, adding in some little gift. Even an apple or orange, can be a treat in some places. Always ask what the person enjoys. I lived one place where no fresh fruit was provided for the residents until I kept up the complaint. And that is while I was living there! Remember, you may be in a similar situation someday and would look forward to that special visit. Great friendships are just waiting to be made.

Give the gift of yourself this year. You will be greatly rewarded. I know. I’ve been there.