Getting old quite often comes with its challenges. Not only are we all coming to terms with not being as spritely as we used to be, but seeing our loved ones get older can also be worrying too.
It is easy to forget our older family members get older the same time we do, and all of a sudden, they have grey hair, a few more wrinkles than you remember and are starting to walk a little slower. You start to wonder when it all happened!
Supporting your older loved ones during this time (for the rest of their life) can be an important part of your relationship, and if you are wondering how you can do it effectively, then this is the piece for you.
Read on to find out more.
Communicate With Them
Communication is one of the most important aspects of any relationship, which also goes for the ones with your older loved ones. Keeping a clear line of communication rather than guessing how they might feel about something or assuming they feel a certain way will only widen the space between you.
They might be scared about aging, they might be facing certain difficulties they may feel like they can’t talk about, or they might find they have to make adjustments that they have never had to make before.
Letting them know that you are there for them and creating a space where they can talk about these new possible concerns can be beneficial for both of you.
Do Not Take Over
When we see our older loved ones start to struggle, our immediate reaction can often be to start doing things for them – eventually doing everything. While you might feel like you are helping, and in some circumstances, this will be necessary, you might also contribute to ‘learned helplessness’, where they start to believe they are incapable of doing certain things, even though they are.
Some struggle is normal, especially if they can still achieve the desired outcome without injuring themselves, and in some cases, the “use it or lose it” method applies. If you find that your loved ones are just a little slower than normal, it is best to allow for that extra time than to take away the activity altogether. It is important that elderly people still maintain their independence.
If you are finding that your older family member needs a level of care that is constant, then it might be time to start considering specialist residential care – which may require transitioning to help your loved one settle in and feel at home in such surroundings. Signature at Reigate Grange created a helpful guide on the transitioning phase for those interested in moving to a care home or helping their loved ones to do so.
Encourage Continued Social Interaction
As we get older, it can be particularly difficult to stay social – this can be for a number of reasons. For the elderly, it could be as simple as friends passing away due to age, but there are also factors such as limited mobility and transport, anxiety, and, sadly, not wanting to feel like a burden on others (when they are not!)
Keeping your elderly loved ones social and included will make a world of difference as they continue to grow old.