Elders and Quality of Life
How to stay connected with our aging seniors?
I’m convinced that my elderly parents were most happy when socially engaged with other people. Certainly, an occasional stopover from a neighbor or distant relative should be encourage. Any visit from friends, adult children or grandchildren – they became more vibrant both physically and mentally with social companionship.
But, family visitation can be difficult — living 600 miles apart makes this difficult to accomplish more than 1-4 times per year. So what can I do to create a social environment for two people who are effectively housebound? My solution…? I have hired “senior personal aides” similar to the services of my own private duty homecare agency. This enables me to gain some control and involvement in their household activities. Caregivers provide some social assistance, plus the extra benefit of some functional help around the house. Phone calls can get screened; the endless voice messages can be deleted; laundry can be done; transportation to the grocery store; companionship to physician appointments are all taken care of with the assistance of a home health aide.
Youth Versus Experience
No one looks forward to losing the qualities of youth — whether eyesight, walking/balance, energy, mental acuity, or physical abilities. And many times this natural aging can bring sadness and depression. But our seniors do have many positive abilities to contribute – such as time, resourcefulness, and the abilities to adjust and compensate. AND, elders have the experiences that life and age have given them.
Perhaps your mother has always enjoyed gardening. But now, her knees and hands just can’t do what she used to be able to in the backyard. How about sending her some house plants to spruce up the house? Or, you can work together on planting seedlings indoors. Then she can water and tend to the plants, and you can help transfer into the yard when the weather warms up.
For more active seniors, there are many ways to stay involved in community. They can give some of their time. Volunteers are always welcome at local schools. (Instead of the school administration being pulled away to watch over cafeteria duty, a senior volunteer might fill that role perfectly.) Or there may be church activities. Library volunteer staffing. Many seniors volunteer to deliver “meals on wheels” to home-bound elders. Or drive the local van for disabled adults/children.
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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