You never know how much time you have left to spend with your elderly loved ones, so you should really make an effort maximize your remaining time with them. These days, with so many constant distractions, this suggestion is easier said than done. However, making an effort to spend some quality time with your loved ones is rewarding and will leave you with no regrets. Here are a few tips on how to enjoy and get the most out of your time spent together.
I previously mentioned distractions being a problem when attempting to have a meaningful interaction. The biggest distraction by far is the cell phone. I’m sure you have been in a situation before when you were out with a friend and they were constantly looking at their cell phone. I know it has happened to me on several occasions. It just made me feel like the person had something more interesting do than have a conversation with me. It is very hard to make a real connection when this is happening.
Think of the effect this behavior would have on your elderly loved one if you were to treat them in this fashion. It would not make them feel like you genuinely want to spend time with them. So, put your phone away, even turn it off when you are visiting. This will not only make the visit more meaningful, but you can connect in a shorter amount of time with no distraction, and then move on to whatever you need to take care of after the visit. Quality most certainly beats quantity in this situation. Most times just being present and attentive is enough.
Engage in a Fun Activity
Another way to be present in the moment and have some fun with a loved one is through activity. Here are possibilities you might try.
- Play cards or a board game
- Go for a walk
- Take them shopping
- Prepare a meal
- Listen to some music
These are a few ideas, but there lots of activities to try. Ask them what they would like to do.
Try to be Empathetic
Attempting to put yourself in your senior loved one’s shoes can be very helpful for making a meaningful connection. Take some time to think about what it is like to get older. Both your mind and body start to decline. You are not as sharp as you once were, or as mobile. You may find your loved repeating themselves, or asking the same questions over again. You know they are not doing this purposely to annoy you, so take that into consideration. That brings me to my next point.
When communicating with a senior, patience is most likely going to be necessary. As we get older, we just can’t keep up the same pace we used to with any of our activities. Conversation is no exception. It is important to be empathetic, but without patience effective communication is going to be very difficult. If you are asked the same question more than once, no problem. Just roll with it. You don’t need to bring awkwardness or feelings or insecurity into the situation by pointing it out.
Not only for interactions with seniors, I think a little more patience in all out lives would be beneficial to ourselves and those around us.