With today’s super fast-paced, digitally hyper-connected world at our fingertips 24/7, it’s easy to feel the generational gap more acutely than ever. Modern society is almost geared up to give us a laser focus on the self, and it’s no wonder that many younger people feel out of touch with their grandparents generation. But there’s so much that we can learn from our elders – life lessons that are just as relevant today as they ever were, even if the world outside looks very different. Many people find that once they put effort into developing a connection with their seniors, it enriches their lives in ways that they never imagined. So how can you best look after your older loved ones? Here are five ways to do just that:
Organise their medications
One thing that usually happens as relatives age is that they take increasing amounts of medication or have more medical appointments. A real, practical way to take care of elders in your life is to make sure that these drugs are in order. It can be as simple as helping them set up reminder alarms on a cell phone specifically designed for senior use, or it could be making sure their pills are organized into a storage container clearly labeled by date. Ensuring nothing is missed helps reduce damage to health in the long run. Helping them to stay on top of this area is essential to their health –and your peace of mind.
Help them take control of finances
It’s an area that many of us don’t like to talk about, but helping our elders ensure that their financial affairs are in order can save a lot of confusion and stress for them, and their families. A typical state of affairs is that when an older woman becomes widowed, they suddenly find themselves dealing with all sorts of financial matters that had previously been handled by their husband. Elderly relatives may have little idea about modern banking procedures that could save time and money, like automatic direct debit payments, or even comparing energy suppliers to make sure they have the best deal on their utilities. A few minutes spent guiding them through a process online can be a beneficial gift of your time, in return for all the life experience they can give to you. The vital part is not to take over – involve them in the process too.
Look after their health
Whether its mental health or physical, younger relatives can do a lot by ensuring their older family members have good health in both respects. Are they taking part in enough social activities? Help them find clubs and societies in their local area to join in with. Do they take regular exercise? Invite them out for a walk at the weekend. It’s also vital to watch out that they stay clear of any illnesses that hit the elderly harder, such as kidney infections and pneumonia. Check out these tips from CaregiverConnection to see if they may be coming down with something. The earlier things like that are treated, the less overall impact they will have on health.
Find shared activities to do together
One of the most significant joys that older people seem to provide is encouraging us to take it slower sometimes. When we step out of our busy lives and match ourselves to their pace for a while, it can make a world of difference to wellbeing. Instead of thinking about that their age limits them from doing, think about what you can do together. A sponsored walk to raise money for a favorite course can be enjoyable. Or is there a craft they are expert in that you’d like to learn? From crochet to jam-making, homespun skills are all the rage again now – and the older generation often have considerable talents in these areas!
Think about their environment
Relatively small changes in the home environment of an older adult can change their daily life for the better. So spend some time thinking about how to adapt their home to their changing needs, and you could help them out.Cluttered interiors with unused pieces of furniture can make navigating on their own harder – perhaps it’s time to introduce them to making money on eBay! Installing support bars in the bathroom is low-cost but can make elders a lot safer in their own homes – as can installing and monitoring new fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and helping them to prepare their home for winter. Even just purchasing a cable tidy to keep trailing electrical wires tucked away can prevent an accident.
It doesn’t take much to look after your loved ones, and simple ways to show you care can mean the world. We’ll all become elderly ourselves one day if we are lucky, so it only makes sense to have better relationships with our seniors and set an example to those younger than us.
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