10 Ways to Support an Aging Loved One
12 Feb 2018
Do you have an aging friend or family member who needs your support? Do you ever find it challenging to show your support in the right way at the right time? You’re not alone! Many people find it difficult to know how to best support an aging loved one in a way that means the most to them. It’s important to consider their personality and your relationship to them. To help give you some ideas of where you can begin, take a look at 10 ways in which you can support and aging loved one!
- Help with their “Honey Do” list
No matter their current living situation, there is certainly something you can offer to take off their “Honey Do” list. Something as simple as fixing a squeaky chair can make all the difference in their day!
- Play their favorite (or a new) game
Make your visits fun and mentally invigorating by playing board or card games together. Go with an old favorite or introduce something new for a challenge. The time will fly by!
- Be their pen pal
Writing a letter with a pen and paper and sending by snail mail is not a common practice anymore, but when trying to connect with your aging loved one, it should be! Regularly write letters to them, send them newspaper clippings or other articles to read. Ask they do the same in return! This activity will strengthen your bond while strengthening cognitive abilities.
Your loved one may not have a lot to talk about if their days are fairly uneventful. Help facilitate fun conversation by bringing a photo album or yearbook to help them reminisce about days gone by. You’ll learn so much about them and their lives!
- Run errands
Your loved one may not be able to run errands as easily as they once did. Before your next visit, ask if you can pick them up anything from the grocery store or pharmacy. Even if they don’t offer any items they need, take a guess and pick up some essentials that they will appreciate having on hand. They will think of you when they use them!
- Commit to regular visits or phone calls
Sporadic visits can be fun since they are often a last minute surprise, however your loved one will appreciate having a regular schedule of visits to look forward to. Aim to visit them in person, or connect by phone once per week. It will quickly become a routine you both look forward to and don’t want to miss.
- Cook together
Meal time can be especially lonely for a senior adult living either alone or in an assisted living facility. Offer to visit them over a mealtime so you can eat together. Or if they have their own kitchen, offer to prepare a meal together. You can try out a new recipe or stick to an old favorite. The best part will be enjoying the food together.
- Go somewhere
If your loved one is physically able to take a small trip with you, offer to drive them to a park, restaurant or local attraction they haven’t visited in a while. Getting outside of their home environment will be a pleasant treat, made even better by your company.
- Observe and take care of a need
At each visit, take a visual inventory of items your loved one needs or things you might be able to help with in the future. Surprise them at your next visit by taking care of these needs for them. A warm pair of socks, new housecoat or a new hand lotion will show them you care about them and want them to be happy.
- Deliver a special treat
It’s likely been a while since your senior friend or family member has visited their favorite bakery or purchased a box of their favorite tea. Being mindful of any diet restrictions, consider bringing them a special treat to brighten their day. If you’re stumped for ideas, simply ask! They just might be craving something specific.
If you have an aging loved one you wish to support, consider implementing a few of the ideas from this list this month! Then continue to add to these ideas!