In our culture, we have a bizarre relationship with our elders. We often respect them and understand all of the things that they’ve done for us in the past, but at the same time, so many people treat their parents and grandparents as an annoyance or a burden. Far too many people will actually go out of their way to avoid seniors if they can, even one’s that they are close to. For whatever reason, senior citizens tend to make people a little uncomfortable, and most of the time this is entirely unfounded and unfair. These are people who have spent years working hard so that we can have the best possible lives and we should be taking care of them. Here are just a few ways that we can better support the older members of our society.
Keep them safe
A lot of the time, senior citizens are going to be rather vulnerable. Many of them suffer from some degree of impairment, whether it’s physical or mental. This leaves them open to an unpleasant degree of potential mistreatment. Every day we hear about cases of nursing home abuse or senior citizens left alone to fend for themselves. Things like this simply cannot stand and we should all by making more of an effort to protect these vulnerable people and help them be as safe and comfortable in the final years of their lives.
Talk to them
One of the most common things that senior citizens will say is that they find themselves feeling very lonely and isolated. The problem is that far too many of us behave as though spending time with them is some sort of burden that we have to deal with. Talking to senior citizens can sometimes be a rather frustrating experience, there’s no doubt about that, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. A lot of the time they simply want someone to talk to and to listen to the things they have to say. Not only will this help them feel less lonely and isolated but will also help to keep their mind and senses sharp well into their later years. Not only that but these are people who have lived, rich and fulfilling lives. There’s a pretty good chance that they have some wonderful stories and pearls of wisdom that we could all benefit from if we actually took the time to listen.
Encourage them to find interests
Far too often we assume that older people are happy just to sit around in their homes all day. But the elderly get bored just as easily as the rest of us! Why not help and encourage them to find interests and activities to pursue? It could be something as simple as a weekly get together for people to share stories and talk to each other. If they’re mobile, then encourage them to take up walking as a hobby. Not only will these kinds of things keep them active and happy but will also help them get out and meet more people, making sure that they don’t spend their time feeling alone.