No experience needed to visit nursing-home residents

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DEAR DR. GRAHAM: Our church is trying to get a group together to visit some of the local nursing homes and try to encourage the people there. I’d like to join them, but I’ve never been around older people much, and I wonder if I’ll be able to relate to them. I don’t want to be a nuisance. — Mrs. D.K.

DEAR MRS. D.K.: Almost every time I have visited a nursing home, the staff has asked me to stop by some of the rooms and greet as many people as possible — even some who are bedridden or have limited abilities. I’ve always been glad to do so.

Why do they ask me to do this? The reason is simple: One of the biggest problems people in facilities like this face is loneliness. Many of them have lost their spouses or friends; others seldom have anyone visit them. In addition, some feel isolated because they can’t hear or see as well as they once did, or they find themselves living in unfamiliar surroundings. They feel the same way the psalmist once felt in his loneliness: “I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof” (Psalm 102:7).

By all means join this group in visiting people in your local nursing homes, if God leads you to do so. If you were in their position, wouldn’t you be happy to see a smiling face and have someone take an interest in you? The Bible tells us that God has a special concern for those who are older, and you and your friends can be a source of great happiness to them.

Ask God also to help you be a spiritual encouragement to them, by pointing them to Jesus Christ and His love. The Bible says, “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you, and I will carry you” (Isaiah 46:4).

Contact the Rev. Billy Graham c/o Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28201, phone 877-247-2426, or see the Web site

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