After this holiday season I noticed a certain group of people that often struggle with happiness—especially around this time of year. When we don’t have all the people we love in our lives, it can seem very lonely. And I’m sure that’s a struggle for the elderly. Not to mention, they are often not as physically or mentally apt as they used to be and that must be an aggravating feeling. Many of us fear getting older, when we can’t walk, see, or hear as well. But most of us will get older—we’re getting older every day. With that said, I think it’s so important that we try to be considerate of their needs and put it in perspective. Let’s try to do what we can to add some happiness to their lives; they matter just as much as we do.
How can we help the older generation find joy?
1. Be patient: As busy as our daily lives can be, take a deep breath and give them the extra time they need to take a step. Let it be a reminder to us to take things slow sometimes.
2. Reach out: Offering your time can sometimes be the most meaningful gesture. It is a direct way of showing that you care about them. A lot of older people experience loneliness and just having some company can do wonders.
3. Ask them about their life: We all love to reminencse. Especially when you have 70 years of reminiscing. You may even want to videotape a conversation with them; I did this with my grandparents and it is a family treasure now.
4. Keep it simple: Sometimes older people have a slower dexterity or they may have trouble thinking clearly. Keeping it fun and easy can make it more enjoyable for them, like playing bingo or cards.
5. Respect them: They have so much life experience that we can learn from. They are just like us except they are older. Everyone is in different stages of life and with each generation, there is something valuable to be gained.
Whether you are spending time with your grandparents, a family friend, or someone you randomly met, may we always be kind to the older generation. They deserve to be happy just as much as we do.