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The following list is based on the 40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents and is adapted to old people. Yesterday’s post concluded with the suggestion to Make a poster with specific suggestions for how to help old people. This post will outline and explore that idea.

  1. Old people will have lost the direct support of their parents, and may not have a family to give them love and support. When you encounter old people give them clear signs of giving personal space but combined with appropriate physical contact such as shaking hands, or a gentle hug. Make a specific inquiry into your mutual interests. Show and sometimes give them a photo or other memento of a shared interest.
  2. Get input from the old person on all decisions that affect them.
  3. Demonstrate helping other people do things important to that other person.
  4. Have something important for them to do that helps the whole community.
  5. Do group art and music projects that are designed for public display and benefit.
  6. Never be physically abusive or even remotely suggestive of being abusive.
  7. Find a young person that the old person can value and encourage.
  8. Give immediate rewards for a generous act; first an instant word, then a gift.
  9. When a person is disturbed look at their problem as they see it.
  10. Demonstrate easy little ways to help others by helping them with a little thing.
  11. Talk about movies and TV and the behavior of the characters, not just names and titles.
  12. Participate in what old people have to say about their life experiences.
  13. Comment on the positive effects they have had on people and the world.
  14. Ask them what they can do for the community.
  15. Give them the power to make a difference again even in little personal things.
  16. Make it easy for them to use the abilities they have to do what they want to do.
  17. Make good quality things like TV, internet, and books easily available.
  18. Make it obvious that you enjoy being with them.
  19. Do things for others because you want them to succeed at what they are doing.
  20. Encourage people to work at the limit of their creative skill.