The process of aging comes with various challenges for the elderly as well as for the families. Growing old dynamically degenerates the biological and mental processes of the body, leaving the elderly dependent on others. The responsibilities of a growing person lie with the younger and healthier members of the family. Caring for an aging family member can be very demanding at times but one must be aware of the necessary possibilities regarding their health-care sustenance. Given the era and society we are living in, it is quite difficult to spare time for your loved ones, isn’t it? Don’t worry about it anymore!
This article will be addressing some of the several time-efficient ways through which family members can help their elderly folks in a productive and loving manner.
Take care of their needs
Needs often remain unexpressed in older age. A family should be vigilant enough to identify the elder member’s needs and try to fulfill them. It goes without saying that the basic and foremost need of human being is physiological needs which includes food, shelter, sleep, etc. But there are some other more compound needs which often get overlooked. Maslow proposed a hierarchy in which he mentioned some important needs of human beings along with physiological needs. It includes safety needs, love, and belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization. Family members can assist them with at least making them feel safe, loved, and improving their self-esteem. This article will be highlighting several ways that will be helpful in this regard.
Visit social gatherings
Studies show that aging people tend to feel lonely and sad which might lead to severe mental health issues like depression. There is no denying the fact that life is a journey of interdepending on each other and staying alone does more harm than good. In order to make elder people’s life somewhat pleasant, it is important to keep their social life active. Assist them in arranging get-togethers with their friends. It also includes going to community events or religious/spiritual gatherings where they can revitalize their social skills and refresh good old relationships and memories.
It is believed that communication with others gets reduced in older age. There can be multiple reasons for this hindrance including lesser social interactions, language impairment, varied interests, etc. But these hurdles should not stop the family members from taking a step further and try to talk to them. Keeping them updated about the global events and news of their interests can turn out to be extremely beneficial for their mental health. Communication not only keeps the relationship intact but also preserves trust and love among the family members relieving unnecessary stress and sadness. It also fulfills the need for belongingness that any human craves from their loved ones.
Engagement in activities
Being engaged in healthy activities reduce the likelihood of stress, obsessive thoughts, and overthinking. Elderly people often lose interest in previously loved activities because of the lack of strength or mobility. With proper scheduling, the interest can be revived. Such as assigning a specific day to their favorite hobbies (writing, gardening, exercise, word games, movies, spiritual activities, etc.). Try modifying the activities to their level of mental and physical strength so they can enjoy it. These recreational activities shift the focus from mundane routine and help to regain a healthy and more insightful perspective of life.
Be patient with them
Elder people can get grumpier with time. Transitioning from middle adulthood to late adulthood is not an easy process and accepting the new reality of life can be time taking. Their emotional reactions can get heightened which may turn into anger outbursts or defensive speech. The key to helping them in this crucial time is to be patient while they adjust with their novel way of being. Remind them often that you want to help them in adapting through these new and unfamiliar methods of living. Let them see your efforts in making them feel comfortable. A little compassion and tolerance go a long way.
Let them guide
A person goes through many experiences and learning lessons throughout his lifetime. Consequently, he acquires maturity and wisdom which can be resourceful for others. By the time he reaches old age, he accumulates a plethora of information from different domains of life. But it is an unfortunate dilemma of the society that elderlies are not given the chance to speak in important matters because their beliefs are considered to be outdated. Whereas they should be given the opportunity to light others people’s lives through their wisdom and the years of knowledge Family members should ask for their advice and let them guide in solving important problems. It also includes, if they are in good consciousness, letting them take their own life decision rather than dictating their life for them. It will lift their morale and also improve their self-esteem.
Maintain a healthy diet
Diet holds a great significance in older age. Family members must consider that the elder person is in-taking sufficient nutrients and cutting down unhealthy food items. It is important to communicate with the specialized doctor and maintain their calorie chart under supervision. Nutrient deficiency can be dangerous in old age therefore, this matter must be taken care of with delicacy and extreme care. Fruits and vegetables are considered to be great source of vitamins and minerals. It reduces the risk of various organ dysfunctions. Having optimal food can do wonders.
If you really want to help them, take care of your own self as well. You cannot pour from an empty cup and there’s no shame in filling your own cup first. Don’t forget to maintain a balance in your life with a healthy diet and necessary self-care. Having unrealistic expectations from oneself can lead to exhaustion and an inability to perform efficiently. Therefore, it is detrimental to have unrealistic expectations for one’s own self. After all, we are all just humans.
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