With the holidays coming, it's time to remember our elderly relatives who cherish visits from neighbors, family and friends! With your busy work schedule, it's only natural you're wondering how to make time for the elderly and enjoy the time spent. Here's how to appreciate each moment.
Call your special elderly relative and schedule a visit. It's always best to find out what is a good time of day for the elderly, and his or her caregiver. Most elderly take naps, and medication, so visits should be scheduled around these key times in the day. Whether the special person you are visiting is living at home, or in assisted living, or a nursing home facility, it's courteous to arrange a convenient time for all of those involved.
If you are visiting an elderly woman, take a bottle of nail polish so you can give her a manicure! It only takes a few minutes, and it will encourage face-to-face attention that the elderly woman will love! Make sure the fragrance won't bother her, or those around her, first.
If you are visiting an elderly man, take shoe polish and the goods that go with it, so you can give him a shoe polish while you're there. Remember, in the 40s and 50s, a shoe polish was a grand treat for any gentleman! He'll love it! And it will give you a chance to humble your own status regardless of how successful and important you might feel in your daily work and profession. It will be a nice change of pace - a return to a simpler time.
Engage in pleasant conversation with the elderly. Tell them simple things, like: "I'm so happy to see you!" "I always feel so inspired when I spend time with you!"
Offer to go for a walk or a wheelchair tour around the area, whichever is applicable.
Offer to meet their friends in the area, especially their caregivers or other members of the nursing home staff, or assisted living team. Thank those people for being so wonderful!
Ask the elderly some questions in which they can give you their sage advice about life. For instance: "I know you were always so good at preparing dinner for your family. How did you plan your meals to make delicious meals that were affordable?" Or...."I feel like a real dolt when I talk to my wife. How did you always keep Mildred smiling all those years?" etc etc
When the elderly offer you advice, TAKE IT! Don't challenge it. After all, they have years of experience on you. Be sure to thank them for being willing to talk with you about your life.
Be sure to LISTEN to the elderly. Did you know that listening to others actually lowers your own blood pressure too? Give yourself a break from being the expert at work...let the elderly person share his or her humor, experience and advice with you, and you be so glad you did!
Always avoid asking about an elderly person's health care situation, becasue this topic gets old and can lead to depression. Keep in mind the caregiver is already on top of this. Go ahead and show concern about the elderly person's health status by saying general, encouraging comments, such as "I hope you're doing well," or "I hope you're feeling better." But in all cases, DO NOT give medical advice!
When it's time to go, thank the elderly person for his or her time. Give a gentle hug or kiss, and offer to get anything he or she might need, such as a blanket, magazine, eyeglasses case, etc. Make a plan for the next visit and write it on the elderly person's calendar, so he or she can look forward to it, and then make sure you follow up and show up when you promised!
Please remember that someday, if you're fortunate, you too will be elderly...and imagine how nice it will be to feel valued by someone who invests their time in meeting with you. The elderly are indeed treasures for the community. Show them respect at all times.
Tips & Warnings
Remember to schedule your visits around medication, therapy or naps for the elderly.
Always refrain from giving medical advice to the elderly. He or she already has a healthcare provider, and you should not interfere with a professional's recommendations.
By RA Cologna