When it comes to our roots and how we got to a particular moment in time, we have no choice but to look back at the previous generation. They laid the ground work (literally) and established everything we have leading up to now. If there were people who were entitled to anything, it would be our elders. They are deserving of our respect. Here’s how to help the older generation by simply investing in them the way that many of them have invested in us.
Not to be a “Debbie Downer,” but no matter how much we want to wish it away, we are all gradually going to lose some abilities as we age. It’s just a fact that the aging process slows us down cognitively and physically; however, our desire to be needed, significant and loved never leaves. So even though someone may not be able to do all they used to do or at the same level as in their younger years, it doesn’t mean they should be forgotten.
Not only do we have a lot we can learn from our wiser citizens, but they could use extra time and a hand when offered. While not all seniors have limitations, many are not able (or interested due to decrease in energy level) to get out on a daily basis as they used to. If they are unable to get out and they live alone, the isolation and lack of social interaction is not a healthy situation for them.
We are social beings and all need brain stimulation and conversation—yes, even the introverts. So, here’s some ideas to help the older folks among us:
- Go see them. Even when they insist that they are fine and don’t want you to be “bothered” by them, go see them anyway. As long as they know it is no trouble and that you want to come by, they most likely will agree.
- Listen to them. They have amazing stories and wisdom to share. Not only will they get to talk about the “good old days”, but you will learn something in the process.
- Spend time out. Find something that interests them and go. Ideas can include a visit to the botanical gardens, a museum or just going to get ice cream.
- Help with yardwork. There’s always something to be done outside. Grass to be cut, landscaping, gutters cleaned, gardening, and so on. Minor indoor projects too, like changing high light bulbs or painting.
I hope this jumpstarted your brain on ways to get connected to the elders in our families and community. Not everyone lives near an older family member, so these will work just as well at a local senior center, retirement or nursing home or assisted living facility. Do you know how happy a local nursing home director would be if you walked in and asked to spend time with the resident who never has visitors?
Show some love and hug the neck of a more “seasoned” member in your family. You never know what kind of positive impact it will have on them—and YOU! P.S. – Don’t forget about your mom and grandma this weekend! <3