By: Evelyn Mann at "The Bib Shoppe" - Specializing in Adult Bibs!
Getting old is not easy and if you ask any elderly person (especially one with health problems) they will verify that for you. Even those surrounded by family, loved ones, friends, and pets often find it difficult to cope. Who wants to deal with finding your friends in the obituaries, food that no longer tastes good, movements that are slow and sometimes painful, and the thought that the years are numbered? Golden years – how golden?
What can we do for our aging loved ones? We can watch carefully and offer our time and love. It isn’t always enough to visit an aging loved one for an hour or so. They can make everything seem hunky-dory in that amount of time and it is easy to miss problems they might be having. In order to get the full picture we need to be with them for a 24 hour period at least. Take the time to be with your aging loved ones.
Keep a list of things they need done around the house, apartment, or facility they live in. When there is time for a visit, try to take care of an item or two on that list. Notify other family members or friends of the list and encourage them to look at it when visiting.
These loved ones don’t need more things. They need time, attention, and affirmation they are loved and significant. Send a funny card, a caring card, or a note of some sort whenever possible. Older people still like “snail” mail and they are appreciative of the thought. A simple phone call is often just what is needed to alleviate loneliness.
Encourage grandchildren who are old enough to show interest in their older relatives. It helps them gain compassion. Even if the older person is grumpy and negative, there is often some fascinating information that can only be learned from someone who lived decades ago. My daughter found it fascinating that my mom came across the ocean in 1947 in a prop airplane.
When we focus on “acts of kindness”, let us not forget “the old folks”. How wonderful to think of something “special” to do for an older person and maybe even see their face light up.