How do you show a person love? You can hug them, kiss them, and tell them how much they mean to you. You can bring them gifts and do them favors. You can even make a big show of it with a special event, like a birthday party or other spectacle.
But to show a senior love can be a difficult task. You may find yourself wracking your brain with ways to express how you feel. Well, worry no longer! We’ve got some great ideas — check them out below!
Let Your Loved One Know You Care
Specialty foods: Many older adults must follow diets that leave much to be desired in the “fun” department. Check with their doctors, and see which specialty items might be okay for them to eat. For instance, many cookies and candies come in sugar-free varieties, which can be a nice treat for diabetics.
A reprieve from the cold: As we get older, changes can occur to our circulation[1. “Cardiovascular Physiology-Changes With Aging,” 2013, https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/450564], making it difficult to get warm – and stay warm. Give your loved one protection from the cold that’s creative and personal with knitted blankets, cozy socks, slippers, and other ways to keep toasty.
Music: When I was the Director of Social Services at a nursing home, nothing lifted our clients’ spirits like music! The smiles would be huge – and instant – as they sang and swayed to the songs of their youth. Bring them oldies-but-goodies like Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, and Fred Astaire (yes, he sang and danced!).
Take them out of the house: It’s hard to stare at the same four walls every day, and even worse when you feel you must request rides from people. So don’t wait until your loved one asks for an outing – offer to take them somewhere instead.
Help them socialize online: Homebound older adults are often isolated[2. “Social isolation, loneliness, and all-cause mortality in older men and women,” February 15, 2013, https://www.pnas.org/content/110/15/5797.full]. By providing a computer or tablet, or teaching them how to use the one they already have, you can help them reduce this isolation. Offer to get them started on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or any other platforms that will help them stay connected with loved ones.
Preserve their legacy: Show your loved one that you not only value them now, but in the years to come as well. Sort through old photos with them, making an album for future generations to enjoy. Record question and answer sessions where you ask them about their experiences, and if they have any life advice for the younger set.
Sometimes, it seems you can never show an older adult all the love you want to. After all, it’s impossible for you to be at their side twenty-four hours a day. However, there is someone who can – a home health aide. They can provide light housekeeping services, meal preparation, and companionship when you aren’t able to be there.
Of course, you don’t have to secure their services 24/7. This is typically done only if the older adult requires it. You can elect to have them stay a few hours a day, a few days a week, overnight, or on an as-needed basis. Offer to arrange a consultation with a home care agency for your loved one. Here, they can discuss their specific goals with a care manager to see which option is right for them.
Show a Senior Love Today!
There’s never a better time to express affection for your loved ones than now. And that’s especially the case with older adults. You never know how much time you have left with them, which means you can’t afford to take a single moment for granted. Feel free to come up with your own ideas in addition to the ones above. But whatever you do, don’t delay — show a senior love today!
If you are unsure of how to best help an aging loved one, the trained and compassionate staff at the Institute on Aging is here to help you make that decision and gain the best in at-home care for older adults. Contact us to find out more.