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Neighborhood Watch? - Twin Brothers Found Dead

Published on 04.08.14

In our very "social" society we have become somewhat isolated, often not knowing much or anything about our neighbors. My wife and I have neighbors who are very friendly, and we speak when we see each other. There are also some in our neighborhood who are easily overlooked.

I just read an article that told of two brothers, twins, who were recently found dead in their home. The decomposed bodies were found side by side in their recliners. Authorities believe the brothers, in their 60's, have been dead since 2011... well over two years. We shake our heads wondering how this could happen, but after the dust settles an even more important question comes to mind. Could it happen in my neighborhood?

Neighbors say the brothers kept to themselves and most thought they had moved and the house was vacant. Had neighbors engaged the brothers on a regular basis, you would not be reading this blog. CAUTION! Before we point fingers, and that is not my intention, I am afraid many of us are not much different. The brothers had no one for over two years to phone, drop by or make any real effort to see how they were doing.

Could it happen in my/your neighborhood? Sadly, yes! So I propose a new kind of neighborhood watch - one that actually looks out for the neighbors, especially the vulnerable ones. We can knock on their door, and do simple things like pull the garbage can up for them. We can treat them, as we would want our parents treated. We can treat them, as we would want to be treated… because one day we will be them, aged and vulnerable!

Elder Source Senior Ministries has a new resource coming entitled, "Who Is My Neighbor?" The booklet and DVD will list five simple steps for church-based, neighborhood-based senior outreach. When completed the resource will be on our website. Let's do our part to make sure the story of the brothers never happens in our neighborhood.

Stan Means, President
Elder Source Senior Ministries

  • Neighborhood-watch

Fort Hood Shooting - An Ageism Question to Ponder

Published on 04.03.14

I am writing this blog the day after the second Fort Hood Shooting – 4/3/14. As expected all news outlets are reporting on the tragic event. Any loss of life is tragic. Therefore, we mourn the death of those killed and pray for those who were injured.

Mass shootings are not new to society, but they do seem to be much more frequent and much more deadly. Sandy Hook and the Aurora Colorado movie theatre are two of the most recent. The bombing at last year's Boston Marathon can also be included even though it was not a shooting.

There have been many other mass shootings in recent years. Some, I don't remember seeing in the news as much as others. One in particular received little notice. In fact, I have yet to mention the shooting to anyone who remembers the 2009 shooting in a nursing home in Carthage, NC. A lone gunman killed eight elderly residents and a nurse.

If my research is correct there has never been a shooting in a nursing home so deadly. According to figures available as of this writing, four were killed in Fort Hood yesterday. If, as I believe, any loss of life is tragic... then why did the killings of one nurse and eight infirm seniors receive such little attention? Please don't rollover that question too quickly. Why did the killings of one nurse and eight infirm seniors receive such little attention?

May God's grace and peace rest on all those affected by yesterday's shooting and the many others in recent years. May we learn to treat life as a precious gift, regardless of age.

Stan Means
Elder Source Senior Ministries

Stuck in the Mud

Published on 04.01.14

With the Midwest having had one of the worst winters on record, my daughter's yard was soaked from melting snow and rain. While moving her car the front wheels left the driveway, getting stuck in the mud. The more she and her husband worked to free the car the worse the situation became.

I am sure at one time or another most of us have become stuck in the mud either literally or figuratively. Perhaps, you feel stuck right now in a job, a relationship, a health concern, a financial matter… and things are getting pretty muddy—maybe even hopeless. If you are “stuck in the mud” may I suggest a couple of things?

First, find your soul spot…the place you can go to be alone to think and to pray. Mine is a vacant wooded lot on a deserted portion of a nearby lake. Nothing magical happens there. God doesn’t shine his glory on me or speak audibly through a burning bush, but it is cleansing for me. Another soul spot for me is getting behind the wheel by myself on a road trip. My brain seems to unclog, and I can think more clearly. Find your soul spot before life gets so muddy you can’t see or think straight.

Second, find an avenue to help someone. Seniors are a wonderful people group to help. They are so thankful for a visit, card, note, chore, and time given. You will receive more than you give, and your soul will be filled over and over again.

My daughter and her husband were able to get their car out of the mud. The scars in the lawn remain for now, but repairs have been made and new grass will soon appear. Hope is both fragile and powerful. When we give, hope abounds and a muddy landscape becomes green again.

Stan Means
Elder Source Senior Ministries

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What is He Thinking?

Published on 03.14.14

Elder Source is new to the social marketing scene. The delay is my own fault, but I am glad to have finally begun with the help and encouragement of two volunteers. I logged on a few minutes ago and was looking at the main picture on our Facebook page. An elderly man, standing with the help of a walker, is looking out a window.

Is he watching children playing? Is he lost in thought? If he is in a care community or homebound I have a pretty good guess what may be on his mind. He could be concerned about his declining health. He could be lonely. He may have outlived many of his friends and maybe even his wife. His kids are probably busy. His church may have forgotten him. His “hope tank” could be running low.

Most seniors want the same basic things we do—to be loved, appreciated, and respected! How can we do that? At the very least we can call, visit, and even write to them the old fashioned way—via a letter or a card. Some may need more hands-on help with an errand or chore they can no longer do.

If all of us do something, no senior will be left hopelessly, longingly, staring out a window. We can do this! We really can do this! I would love to hear your senior story.

Stan Means
Elder Source Senior Ministries

PS - Maybe the guy in the window is looking for you or me, hoping today will the day we will stop by for a hug and a visit.

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A Senior Discount! Really?

Published on 03.07.14

I spent the middle part of this week in a conference for activity directors who work in senior care facilities. I was entering trip expenses into QuickBooks when I noticed something on a breakfast receipt that read, “1 SENIOR BUFFET BKFST.”

Stop the presses! Stop everything! They gave me a senior discount? I didn't show an ID. I wasn’t asked my age. I didn't ask for a discount, and I certainly didn't ask for a senior discount. To be honest with you I didn't like being placed in the senior category.

Americans spend cazillions of dollars each year to deny and cover up the fact that they are aging, and the church is not immune to “seniorphobia.” I see pastors in their 50's trying to look and act much younger. I know of churches that are replacing middle-aged pastors with much younger staff members. I heard one pastor in his early 40's say his staff (all near his age) is getting old, and they need younger staff members.

Even though I often disagree with how society and the church view seniors, I hadn't accepted the fact that I have bought into some of the same thinking—the thinking that devalues the intrinsic value and honor of growing older. One of the tag lines for Elder Source is, “Making a difference one senior at a time.” Until this morning I didn't understand it has to begin with me. So, here it goes. My name is Stan Means, and I am over 50. Therefore I qualify for some (very few really) senior discounts, and that’s okay!

Well, I put it in print! Now I have to convince myself that it is true.

Stan Means
Elder Source Senior Ministries

Be the Match... Let the Wild Fire Begin

Published on 03.02.14

Following World War II our nation was prospering after nearly three decades of war and extreme financial turmoil. For the next eighteen years (1946-1964) our country was blessed with the births of some eighty million children… the Baby Boomers. Our culture reacted and so did the church. Programs for children and teens spread like a wild fire. Bus ministries became the norm. Youth pastors were hired in record numbers. Numerous youth organizations, such as Campus Crusade and Youth for Christ, were either birthed or flourished during this time.

Nearly seventy years have past since the end of WWII, and we are in the midst of another age wave. This time it is an aging Tsunami. The Baby Boomers are entering their senior years at the rate of 10,000 per day. At the same time the generation preceding the Boomers are living longer than previous generations.

In the next twenty years the senior population will double and will out number youth for the first time in history. The church, which was at the forefront of the youth movement, is largely silent to a group that is far more numerous. The field is whitening! Let us not stay silent! Be the one to effect change in a senior near you. Listen and learn from them. Help them. Pray with them and for them. Be the match… let the wild fire begin again!

Stan Means
President
Elder Source Senior Ministries

Donor Newsletter - Spring 2014

Published on 02.25.14

Here's the digital version of our spring donor newsletter.

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If not us then who?

Published on 02.20.14

During the coldest days of one of the worst winters on record, an 86 year-old man asked his daughter to take him to the nursing home so he could visit some of the residents. The daughter was reluctant, but agreed. She feared her father would fall on the icy sidewalks and parking lot.

The man stayed for 90 minutes visiting with numerous old friends. His effort was at great personal sacrifice and wearied him for the rest of the day, but the daughter could tell how much it meant to her father. He later told her that many times he didn’t physically feel like going to church, but he went to encourage others.

Statistics say that over 60% of seniors in nursing homes are not visited. The quote in the title of this blog is from Ronald Regan. The full quote says, “If not us then who? If not now then when?”


If an 86 year-old man can make the regular sacrifice to visit and encourage seniors, can we not do the same and even more? If not you and me then who? If not now then when? Will you stand with this 86 year-old man and make a difference in the lives of seniors in your community, your church, your neighborhood, and in your family?

Let me hear from you. Together we can make a difference one senior at a time.

Stan Means
President
Elder Source Senior Ministries

Inspiring seniors to live with purpose by honoring God in their latter years

Published on 01.26.12

Elder Source exists to facilitate senior ministry by distributing senior-friendly Christian resources to seniors in care centers, creating opportunities that encourage and edify seniors to be productive and spiritually fertile, and building partnerships with like-minded organizations, churches, and individuals that will value and honor seniors.

In the United States, approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers are turning 50 every day. This means the population of Americans aged 65 and over will jump from 35 million to 71.5 million between the years 2010 and 2030. The number of men and women 85 and older will increase by over 70%!

This trend has enormous implications for every segment of our society, including the church. That’s why we must begin now to prepare for what many Christian leaders are calling one of the fastest growing mission fields in history.

Welcome to Our New Website

Published on 05.25.11

Welcome to our new website and our first blog post! We hope you'll find this site a valuable resource and tool. This new site, provided by www.bellstrike.com, gives us an updated look and feel and is also easy for us to update. This means that we'll be able to add fresh news and information on a regular basis.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know on our contact page. If you would like to make a donation, please visit our donate page.

Keep checking back often!