Elders…are Experienced at Life
Elders do have something that younger generations lack…experience at life. And they appreciate passing along that expertise, both formally and in casual conversation. Elder adults understand the value of sharing life’s experiences with younger generations. Elders provide a mature perspective on life.
Interestingly, the relationship between a homecare provider and senior can be surprisingly strong. Many times, my clients describe their feelings about our home care staff in terms such as…”She feels like my sister. We really enjoy each other’s company.” Each has learned about each other, and shared common experiences. Relationships in life are important. They may have become quite mutually dependent on each other, a bond created from the daily contact and communication at home.
The Benefits of Simply Listening:
Being a good listener can be a very small gesture which provides happiness. An elderly parent may be frustrated with their legacy — their perceived impact on life and on those dear to them. Life brings on “macro” questions…What have I done? What will I leave behind? What can I give back to family & friends when I’m gone? Sometimes these questions don’t have immediate answers. But listening has value. Listening to stories of how they grew up – childhood memories from a long time ago. What was their world like? Seniors generally appreciate telling these stories, they value the attention, and enjoy socializing in the comfort of their own home.
Many times the staff at Home Care Partners can help seniors create tasks for themselves – by encouraging their interest in documenting family history and legacies. For these seniors, delving into the family genealogy can prove to be a wonderful process for everyone in the family. Start slowly, and summarize some snapshot conversations. Over time, you can return to that subject and fill in some gaps with greater detail.
Tasks for an Active Senior:
It is meaningful, personal, rewarding, and enlightening when uncovering the family tree, long forgotten ancestors, and your own place in family history. Try getting your elderly parents started with books, or some library research, or an on-line search. There may be antiques in the house that have colorful history, for example a sword which has been handed down for generations; an important piece of jewelry; a handmade piece of furniture. My own family has a piece of wood with an embedded bullet taken from the Gettysburg battlefields. It is a wonderful family relic which always brings about family stories. Your parents, or family, may have something historically or emotionally valuable…just look and listen!
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164