Senior Lifestyles: A simple act of kindness goes a long way

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, October 23, 2018

In my last article, I talked about the impact of isolation and loneliness on you.

I made suggestions that you can use to help make your life better if you are the one suffering the effects of isolation.

Today, I’d like to offer some thoughts about what you can do if there is someone in your life — a relative, friend or acquaintance who may be lonely or has withdrawn from usual activities. Or there may be someone in your neighborhood who has lost a spouse or a pet and who just needs a kind word to help brighten his day.

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It’s obviously a lot easier to visit, call or meet with people we know, even if we haven’t been particularly close or socially engaged with them for some time. Taking that initiative isn’t difficult or complicated, and it doesn’t require that you make a grand gesture. 

Just ask yourself what it would mean to you, if you were alone and hurting, to have someone you know reach out to say hello, invite you to have lunch, go for a drive or just sit with you and listen. All of these simple acts of kindness can help people to feel less alone.

You can make someone’s day by being a little giving of yourself. For instance, have you ever been in a restaurant or coffee shop where you saw law enforcement officers dining, and watched as another patron pick up the tab for those men and women to show his appreciation?

If that’s not your style, consider walking over to their table and saying “thank you” as you leave. It will be appreciated.

There are so many ways to initiate random acts of kindness.

If you’re willing to step outside your own comfort zone, you might consider visiting with a military veteran who may be struggling with the transition back to civilian life. Or you can volunteer to visit a nursing home where some of the residents never have visitors. 

No, it’s not always easy, but, from personal experience, I can tell you that not knowing these people makes absolutely no difference to them. By reaching out, start with a smile, a kind word or a gentle touch, and you can change the moment, and, in some cases, improve the day for someone who needed exactly what you gave them.

Being kind requires no special training. You don’t have to be concerned about what to say or fear you might make matters worse. Just being there and showing genuine, heartfelt support for someone can often be the simple act of kindness that helps someone to feel less alone.

Everyday acts of kindness like these may seem small, but they have the power to make a huge difference for someone going through a difficult time. Just as you would like to think that if you were in their shoes, there’s someone out there who would care enough to reach out to you.

Be that person, and take some time going forward, especially as we approach the holiday season, to be there for someone to whom your act of kindness may make a world of difference.

Ron Kauffman is a consultant and expert speaker on issues of aging. He is the author of “Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease.” He may be contacted at 828-696-9799 or at