Yesterday I read through Acts 28 ahead of next week's service preparation on Paul in Rome. I was struck by the fact that when he could no longer go to the people, he inivted the people to come to him. This seems to suggest a ministry of/by 'shut-ins' rather than a ministry to them. Granted Paul was not frail elderly (though he must have been into his fifites, some writers suggest early sixties, which was a good age back then) but his open-house approach is something that I suspect many could emulate. What if rather than Roman guards it was carers and home-helps who happened to overhear talk of faith, Bible study or prayer? What if the neighbours were invited in for coffee and genuine conversation on big questions? My experience down south, and that of my friend who is an older people's specialist minister, is that 'ultimate questions' which often weigh heavy in the minds of older folk can best be discussed with other older folk who are, as the old hymn says 'ready to rest.'
Being shut-in rather than an excuse to opt out is a different opportunity to opt in. Something of this will find its way into next week's sermon I think.