Do you have a senior in your life who you visit? They may be living in a nursing home, assisted living, receiving home care, or may be living independently. Would you like to spread good cheer to seniors you may not know personally? It can be intimidating to think of a visit stretching out with “nothing to talk about”, but your interaction and social connection can be the link between a lonely, isolated existence and a fulfilling, happy life. Don’t be shy or hesitant to reach out.
At HomeChoice Home Care Solutions our caregivers are providing in-home senior care around the clock. Yes, a lot of in-home elderly care includes assisting with “activities of daily living”; things like bathing, dressing, transferring from bed to chair, but the real magic happens in the personal touch. It is the interaction and companionship that are the true bright spots in our clients’ days. We provide ideas to help our caregivers connect with our clients so the relationship is real and meaningful.
Just because someone is elderly doesn’t mean they have no history, nothing interesting to offer- in fact, it is just the opposite. Our seniors have a wealth of life experience and adventures to share with us. Feel free to use some of these suggestions to start up a conversation or to deepen an existing relationship:
- Be genuine– By showing genuine interest in someone you create a warm and open flow of communication. Remember to ask who, what, where, why, and how questions. Stay away from “yes” or “no” questions. Pay attention to the answers and build your questions on those answers. Did the senior you’re visiting have an interesting career? What period of time did they live through? Everyone has lived through an interesting period in history. What are/ were their hobbies? How did they meet their spouse? Where have they lived?
- Find an Activity– Is there an activity related to their interests the senior might enjoy? We had a client who was a pilot who enjoyed taking a ride to the airport and watching the planes land and take off. He and his caregiver would stop for an ice cream cone on the way home and that was a good day!
- Change of Scenery– Could you sit on a porch or go for a short walk?
- Photo Albums– Does your senior have any old photo albums? Reminiscing can be a source of great joy. Page through the album and get lost in the stories of their past. Ask questions and spend time truly appreciating the life they have lived. One 95-year-old client reminisced about her time with her husband as missionaries in Africa. Her favorite saying was “We loved life!”.
- Games– Do they like to play games? It doesn’t have to be complicated- UNO, Go Fish?, Old Maid, cribbage, or board games like Parcheesi or Sorry!
- Books-Maybe they would enjoy hearing a book read to them. Do they have a particular interest in fiction or biographies?
- Touch! Don’t be afraid to give a good hug, a rub on the back, or lotion on the hands. Seniors are starved for physical affection- especially when they become dependent on other people for the task of their day-to-day care. If COVID has taught us anything it is that we need each other and we need to feel that physical connection and care.
Our seniors are our treasures. It is up to all of us to make them feel valued and loved for who they are and what they have to offer all of us. Reach out today to make a difference in a senior’s life.