Caring Mentally for the Elderly

1. Respect the elderly person.

Always be respectful to the elderly. Even though they have aged and may be losing their health, they are still people with emotions and ideas. Don’t judge them by their physical condition. Aging is simply a part of the natural cycle: you are born, you’re a kid, you grown into your teen years, adult years, and one day you will be elderly too. Have respect for them and their lives.

  • Don’t swear or say words which they may find inappropriate; having grown up in a different time, they may not take this lightly.

2. Help your loved one to cope with the loss of independence.

Encourage them to maintain friendships, stay active, develop new interests and keep in touch with other family members. Explain that the loss of independence is not a personal failing and rather just part of the natural cycle of life.

3. Encourage them to volunteer.

A recent study found that elderly people who volunteer are happier and healthier. This is especially true for elderly people who have chronic conditions. The feelings of being valued and needed as a volunteer can greatly improve the mental well-being and thus health of your loved one.

  • The benefits can be seen with as few as 2-3 hours per week of volunteering.

4. Visit frequently.

Visiting will provide an emotional connection and improve the mental well being of your loved one. Visiting will also allow you as the caregiver to check up on their health and well-being. You can see whether they have been watering the plants, opened their mail or show any bruises, all of which may signify that they need additional assistance. Get friends and family members to help.

5. Bring some of their personal belongings with them.

If they are moving to a senior center or into your home, bring some of their physical home with them. This will make them feel more comfortable and at home in their new surroundings and help them to cope with the big changes taking place for them.

6. Find areas of mutual interest.

Some younger people may mistakenly think they cannot connect with elderly people, but remember that they might also feel they cannot connect with you are your interests. Try to open your mind and find out what gives them joy. If you can’t share their interest at least you can share their excitement.

7. Try to keep things as unchanged as possible.

Many elderly people are uncomfortable and nervous about change, especially when they are moving out of their home. Try to keep everything as stable as possible. For example, you might bring their pet in with you if bringing your loved one home or bring their pet to the senior center with them if it is permitted.

8. Make them feel welcome and at home.

Try to get them to participate in the activities of the senior center or include them in activities in your home. Encourage them to be active participants in their environment.

  • You can also encourage them to get outside or take them outside for walks or other activities. This can help them to feel happier, especially if they suffer from depression.

  • You can even surprise them with gifts from time-to-time or hold parties for them as a way of keeping them involved.

9. Listen to their stories.

You may find them interesting and they can even help you navigate issues or situations in your own life. The elderly have a lifetime’s worth of experiences to offer, you can learn and improve your own life by listening and engaging with them. Find the beauty in their stories and learn from them.

  • This will also deepen the connection between you and can help them feel more connected to the world around them.

 

Taken from: WikiHow

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