How can you see and serve the invisible? The elderly woman in her home that is undernourished and in need of medical care because of her inability to drive. The elderly man in the local nursing home that is incredibly lonely and battling depression after losing his wife. The elderly couple with the unkempt yard because they are no longer physically able to do yard work and cannot afford to pay someone to do it.
This is exactly what Perry Lutheran Homes is challenging people to do with the launch of the StepUp Movement in May 2018. The StepUp Movement (Serving Together our Elderly with Passion) is designed to encourage and challenge individuals, organizations and communities to Step Out of day-to-day routines to take notice of and find these “invisible elderly” citizens in need, then to Step Forward and take action. StepUp is simply our mission, Serving Christ by Serving Others, in action. We believe that no elder should ever be lonely, hungry, afraid or forgotten and that it is our responsibility to lead the way in making that a reality for the community of Perry, IA and beyond.
The StepUp Movement was launched by Perry Lutheran Homes in May 2018 with the gathering of nearly 100 people from Perry, IA and surrounding communities who were invited to learn more about caring for our elderly citizens in need for the StepUp Celebration Dinner. One elderly citizen was presented with the Exemplar Award to honor their life of servitude and present them as an example for others. The StepUp Service Award was then presented to a community member for their unwavering commitment and dedication to serving the elderly; encouraging others to do the same. This event was repeated in May 2019 with the gathering of nearly 150 people to raise both awareness and funds.
The StepUp Movement continued thereafter with a weekly StepUp Challenge issued on Perry Lutheran Homes’ social and digital media sites and published in various print and digital newsletters to encourage simple, yet meaningful service activity to elders in need. StepUp Challenges have also been printed and handed out at expos, conferences, conventions, farmers markets, service events and more across central Iowa. These simple and fun activities have resulted in increased awareness where both individuals and organizations have been SteppingUp to take notice and address the needs of elderly citizens living at home and in local care communities.
To bring greater public awareness to the StepUp Movement, Perry Lutheran Homes organized a 5K Fun Run called ‘The Run Through Time’ in July 2018 that has become an annual event. The Run Through Time highlights the music, memories and importance of past generations, as well as raising awareness and funds for local elderly citizens, sharing proceeds to provide home delivered meals and community senior meals helping to fight hunger and malnourishment of elderly citizens. In conjunction with the July 2019 Run Through Time, Perry Lutheran Homes is working together with the city of Perry to identify local elders in need of help for a Community Day of Service in which to activate local community members in service to elderly in need.
Presentations and information including the StepUp Movement and outreach to elderly have been given all across Iowa to various organizations and groups interested in learning more about how they can help find and serve “invisible elders” in their communities, including a recent gathering of over 3,000 service-oriented women in Mobile, Alabama.
We have been called to care not only for those living inside the walls of Perry Lutheran Homes, but to inspire others to action in Serving Together our Elderly with Passion – to StepUp in the community of Perry, in communities across Iowa and beyond.
Follow our Facebook page for fun ways to StepUP and serve the "invisible elderly" in your community! Need some ideas? Check out the fun challenges below! Many of these challenges were created before COVID-19, so please remember to follow all the current CDC and IDPH guidelines to keep everyone safe.