Apr 16, 2014 |
Inside Out 309: Visit Nursing Homes
A visit for as little as twenty minutes once a week can change the life of a nursing home resident, according to Ed Johns. And yes, “Angel Ed,” as his friends call him, is recruiting volunteers. As the Coordinator of the National Nursing Home Initiative for the Turn a Frown Around Foundation, Johns is encouraging individuals—and entire churches—to become “forever friends” to nursing home residents.
“We could all do this. There’s really nothing to it,” he says. “I have no special gift with this. You have to have the love in your heart for others. As soon as you walk into the nursing home, your heart is just going to melt.”
Almost one and a half million people live in nursing homes today, and many never receive a visitor. For instance, only 15 out of every 100 residents on an Alzheimer’s unit ever receive a guest, according to Johns.
I would never belittle your reasons for not visiting. It hurts when your mother doesn’t recognize you. It can be awkward when the person you visit asks to come home with you. But when we overcome our reservations, we often actually see the impact of our small investment.
“When I leave,” Johns says, “I feel so pumped up and so wonderful because I see their lives changing. I see people that have no hope at all—I mean no hope at all—smiling, laughing, communicating.”
But even if we never see how singing a hymn with a disabled man or holding an elderly woman’s hand changes their lives, I suggest that by visiting in a nursing home we serve Jesus. Of course He never specifically mentions nursing homes. But it’s in Matthew 25 that we hear Him saying that when we feed the hungry and clothe the naked and visit the prisoner, we feed and clothe and visit Him.
Just by visiting a nursing home we could relieve loneliness AND serve Jesus. What a great investment of twenty minutes a week.
Click on the LISTEN or DOWNLOAD icon above to hear an enthusiastic Ed Johns talk about connecting with nursing home residents in our 18-minute conversation.
Learn more about how you and your church can become “forever friends” to nursing home residents at www.turnafrownaround.org
Contact Ed by phone to talk about volunteering: (908) 454-8818