December 7, 2018

‘It’s a win-win’: Serving seniors and seniors serving in central and southern Indiana

Nathalie Plum, left, a senior at Indiana University and a member of St. Paul Catholic Center, both in Bloomington, embraces Melia Davis, a resident of Golden LivingCenter in Bloomington, on Nov. 16. Plum is a volunteer with Never Alone: Ministry to the Elderly, a program of the campus ministry of St. Paul Catholic Center. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

Nathalie Plum, left, a senior at Indiana University and a member of St. Paul Catholic Center, both in Bloomington, embraces Melia Davis, a resident of Golden LivingCenter in Bloomington, on Nov. 16. Plum is a volunteer with Never Alone: Ministry to the Elderly, a program of the campus ministry of St. Paul Catholic Center. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

(Editor’s note: The Criterion is running a series of articles on senior-related issues through the lens of the Catholic faith. This installment will focus on two parish ministries and one government program sponsored by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, all seeking to meet the needs of seniors and the elderly. Read part one and part two of this four-part series.)
 

By Natalie Hoefer

There are as many parish ministries as there are needs in central and southern Indiana, spanning the myriad populations one might feel called to serve.

For some, it’s the poor or homeless. For others, it might be youths, or women in crisis pregnancies, or prisoners—or the aging and elderly.

Take Nathalie Plum and Matthew Neuman, college students who spend time with nursing home residents in Bloomington who have few or no visitors.

Or the members of Compassionate Visitors in Connersville and Liberty, who not only visit nursing home residents but also keep vigil at the bedside of the dying.

And sometimes those in their mid‑afternoon or sunset years feel drawn to serving, like Sally Dreyer and Danny Wyrick, who joined the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), which matches retired and senior individuals with volunteer opportunities to keep them active, involved and healthy.

Their stories speak to the need of seniors and the elderly for interaction, for kindness and for dignity. And their experiences reveal the beautiful truth of service: that those who serve benefit as much if not more than those whom they serve. As Dreyer says in the article about RSVP: “It’s a “win-win.”

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