The theme around February 14th is love—the most beautiful gift one human can give another.
As our parents’ age, it’s important that we remember to adapt and show them love in the ways they need it. After all, the parents that we now have in our 40s, 50s, and 60s need a different kind of love than they did when we were younger.
Here are four ways we can show our seniors just how much we love them.
Check-In, Don’t just Check-Up
Some aging adults have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that they can no longer be as independent as they once were. They are used to being the one who is the caretaker, but suddenly the roles are switched, and they need caretaking from their own children.
Although adult children have the best intentions it’s important to remember that it’s essential to still empower their parent(s) in aspects of their care. Seniors need to know that the parent to child relationship is still there. Don’t just stop by to make sure they are okay. Stop and talk about your day, what’s going on in your kid’s lives, or work updates. Give them the chance to chime in on decisions and planning so they can retain as much involvement as possible in family activity.
Listen and Reminisce
The simplest way to show that you care is to listen to their stories and reminisce about family memories. Seniors have had a lifetime of priceless experiences and life lessons. Use your time together to encourage them to share precious memories with you and others.
Pull out the old baby books, educate your children on who their elderly relatives are, play home videos, and talk through memories. Doing activities like these can brighten your loved ones day and also create new memories.
As important as it is to be surrounded by family, it’s equally important for older adults to be involved in the community and engage with those who have life circumstances in common with them. Getting out and getting together with others gives seniors something to look forward to and helps to support their emotional well-being.
Statistics prove this too. Yvonne Michael, an epidemiologist from the Drexel University School of Public Health, studied a group of seniors who had regular social interaction and a group of seniors who did not. He found that seniors who engaged with others on a regular basis had significantly elevated physical mobility scores than those who weren’t as social.
Investigate classes that can spark their interests and help them meet people. Partner with them to sign up for a book club. Extend a call to their old friends and schedule a date for them to catch up. Giving your loved one an opportunity to be social and meet others is just another way you can show how much you love them.
As seniors age, different health challenges might start to arise. When they do, it can be challenging for seniors to stay active. Contrary to what we may think, one of the most significant reasons for not staying active includes feeling like an extra weight. The harsh reality is that 50% of aging seniors feel that they are a burden to their loved ones.
As someone who truly cares about their wellbeing, this may be a surprise to you. Be sensitive to this feeling as it’s an extremely common one for aging adults especially as their ability to stay independent changes.
Remind them how special they are and how much you love spending time with them. Thank them for all they have done for you in your lifetime and hug them tight! That will mean the world to them through the challenging days.
Give your senior the love that they deserve. Be yourself. Show them that as they age, your love for them will always remain the same.