Share the Gospel in Assisted Living Facilities

“Hey, Bubba, how are you today?” I asked as I leaned over to kiss my husband.

He turned to look at me and nodded his head. A stroke had left him paralyzed on the left side, and he now relied on the assisted living facility’s nursing staff to care for him. Two pairs of socks and fresh fruit lay beneath the small Christmas tree I bought for his table. A Christmas card pinned to the bulletin board offered greetings and reminded us of Christ’s birth.

How wonderful to know that residents who don’t have visitors would not only hear the Christmas story from volunteers but also receive gifts in honor of Christ’s birth.

Have you ever considered volunteering? Here’s how you and your missions group can start sharing the gospel with assisted living residents:

  1. Become friends with the facility’s activities director. Consult with her or him to develop a schedule that will meet the facility’s needs as well as your group’s needs. Be committed and consistent, because you may be some residents’ only visitor.
  2. Consult with the activity director, nurses, and staff to determine the name and level of awareness of the residents you’re going to visit. Get some background about their likes and dislikes and gather any other information you can so they’re not complete strangers. Develop a relationship with the residents, but keep in mind that some may not remember you.
  3. Remember residents are at different stages in their relationship with Christ. Be patient. You will never know the impact you have had on eternity until you reach heaven. Ask questions about which church they attended, what they know about Jesus, and whether they mind if you share one of your favorite stories in the Bible. Use simple Scriptures like Isaiah 53 and John 10, which clearly explain our need for salvation.

Bear in mind that the residents aren’t children. Preserve their dignity by conversing with them as adults on their level of lucidness and ability to track the conversation. Some will be more receptive than others.

Time Is of the Essence

I knew a couple who shared a room at the assisted living facility. The intimacy they shared was readily apparent through their attentiveness to each other. I hadn’t seen the husband for a while, but I’d grown accustomed to residents going to the hospital and returning. Later I learned he had died. When I spoke with the wife a few weeks later, she told me about her husband’s death. “But I will see him again one day,” she said smiling.

Never assume that just because someone is elderly, he or she is a Christian. Men and women of faith have a captive audience at assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Make it your mission today to make certain all who reside there have had the opportunity to hear about and enter into a relationship with Jesus.

Audrey Hector is a freelance writer for WMU.

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