Senior Relationships Tips

Read these 23 Senior Relationships Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Elder Care tips and hundreds of other topics.

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What Does an Elderly Person Need from Me?

Elderly Tips

1. Treat with dignity and respect - always. If your loved one is mentally capable, allow them to make decisions about their care. Be diplomatic and graceful.
2. Call or visit on a regular basis.
3. Volunteer to do special things for your elderly loved one. For example: suggest taking your loved one shopping, or out to dinner.
4. Never complain, or make your loved one feel what you are doing is a burden to them.
5. Listen! Listen to what your elderly loved one is saying to you. Watch the body language. Look for clues that something is wrong. For example, if your elderly person appears absent-minded or forgetful and does not know who you are, this could be a clue and warning sign of possible dementia. If you find a clue, talk to your loved one with kindness. Treat the elderly with respect, recognizing that they are adults, not children.
6. Be proactive, suggesting yearly medical, hearing and eye exams. Follow up to make certain your loved one has completed the physical exam, along with the results of the exam.
7. Never assume that your elderly loved one is all right, or will ask for your help. Volunteer…volunteer…and volunteer again.
8. Discuss current events. By discussing current events, you will be able to discover if something is not right emotionally or physically. If your loved one cannot recall the day of the week, or appears to be distracted or lost, something could be happening to them.
9. Get your family involved with your elderly loved one. Allow your children, or grandchildren to visit with them.
10. Record special moments! When your elderly loved one shares stories of old times, along with cherished memories, record them into a tape recorder, camera, or if not available, jot notes down. These moments can be cherished forever!

   
Should I allow my elderly relative space to vent anger?

Allowing Anger

Allowing a Senior or person with disabilities to open up and express their feelings to a listening ear will undoubtedly release thoughts of fear, anger, needs, desires etc.

Never diminish these feelings by telling them they shouldn`t feel a certain way. How they are feeling is simply how they are feeling for whatever reason. Instead offer words of encouragement, mention positive alternatives and carefully offer advice on community programs or assistance.

   
How can I find the time?

But I Work

Oftentimes, I have heard people say, "I don't have time to help care for an aging parent. I work."

So did I!

I've always practiced the philosophy that we make time for the things that are important to us.

Take ten minutes from your day to visit your loved one.
On your way home from work, drop by or call, just to make certain he or she is all right.
Do something silly, just to make your loved one laugh.

These tiny "little things" will mean so much to you, and to your loved one.

   
Can I wait until tomorrow?

It Can Wait Until Tomorrow

Can it wait?

Are you certain tomorrow will arrive?

It is so easy for us to procrastinate, putting off until tomorrow what we should do today.

But who knows if tomorrow will come?

Never be afraid to show how much you care. If you have a frail senior citizen you are caring for, never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

Always share your love.

Remember...we have today...and...we hope for tomorrow...We never know what tomorrow will bring.

   
What can I say to my elderly?

Make the Best of Things

When sharing time with the elderly, do not dwell on the past.

Allow your loved one to voice concerns.

Tell him or her how much you care.

Remember to say you are sorry for anything in the past.

Do not put off until tomorrow what you should say today.

Share your love.

   
Should I call before visiting my elderly relative?

Getting Together

Many aging folks and those with disabilities are housebound and lonely. Visiting a housebound person can be a wonderful gift to give.

The first connection with a shut-in should be one of friendship and support. It is best to always call before visiting. Respect your homebound friend by asking permission to visit, so as not to invade their space.

   
How do I accept things I cannot change?

If Only I Could

If you have an elderly loved one you care for, make certain you learn to listen and communicate effectively.

If your loved one can speak, listen to what he or she is saying.

Sometimes the elderly will converse about something you know absolutely nothing about, because you were not there.

These stories might have occurred twenty, thirty, or even forty years ago.

To get a complete understanding of what is being said, ask questions.

Take notes.

When visiting with your loved one, take the time to look at family albums. Record these moments in your notebook.

If the photos do not contain the names of the subject matters, record them on the back of the photograph, or somewhere convenient so these moments of history can be remembered and shared with others.

Place yourself in the shoes of your elderly loved one.

Imagine what it must be like to know the biological clock of time is quickly ticking away, and you are powerless to stop it.

You could be changed forever by using this approach.

Laugh.

Smile.

Cry if needed.

Above all, communicate.

Listen. Share your thoughts. Make the most of every moment you share.

   
How do I renew a distant relationship?

Renewing Relationships with Seniors

Maybe it has been a few weeks, months, or maybe even years, since you've shown your special elderly loved one how much you care.

How can you renew the relationship?

Why not rearrange your schedule to make time to do something unexpected?

Plan special days, or events. Throw a party.

Buy your loved one a special book, by a favorite author.

Tell jokes, or talk about special times.

Remember to say you are sorry for the past...and never bring up the past again!

   
What do I Observe?

Deciding to Assist Your Loved One

Look for changes in your loved ones mental, physical behaviors.

Is he or she eating properly?
Losing weight?
Gaining weight?

   
How Can I Make Things Right Again?

Never Look Back on the Past

Renewing a relationship with someone elderly can be a tedious task, at times.

Don't dwell on the past.

Make the most of a bad, or delicate situation.

Make the elderly loved one feel special.

For the appropriate holiday, or special event, do something nice, without expecting any gratification for it.

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.

   
How often should I visit?

Loneliness

Isolation and loneliness are the enemy of Seniors and those homebound due to disabilities. So, be consistant when visiting them.

Always set a specific date and time when planning your visit. Setting an appointment, which you are certain you can keep is essential.

Frequency of visits is also very important. Whether you are able to visit weekly, monthly or another time frame, try to maintain a pattern.

Realize that your homebound friend will be looking forward to your visit.

   
What gifts are appropriate for the elderly or homebound?

How to Make a Loved One Feel Special

Care packages are thoughtful and so important to the elderly, especially if the care package is decorated in pretty boxes, or placed in gift bags.

Buy personal items like shaving cream, bath soaps and colognes, cold cream, lotions and all sorts of specialty items the person will appreciate.

Wrap the items in pretty paper, enclosing a nice card.

   
What about scrapbooks, and old pictures?

The Good Times

Sometimes it is a good idea to get out old pictures, or scrapbooks and look at them with your senior.

Ask questions.
Find out who the faces belong to in the picture.
Jot down the names, so future generations will remember.

   
How can I make someone feel better?

Pretty Packages to Make

If you want to brighten someone's day, why not make a pretty care package?

Get a box, decorate it with pretty, colorful paper.

Fill this box with scented lotion, a pretty comb, some ribbons and home made cookies..

Enclose a recent photo of grandchildren, pets or something you know they have an interest in.

Buy a pretty card letting them know how very special they are to you.

Encourage children and grandchildren to visit and take an interest. Build that circle of love.

   
Who should say I´m sorry?

Be the First to Apologize

When problems arise, and they will, never forget to say you are sorry. Listen to what is being said, and how it is expressed to your loved one.

Let your senior know how special he or she is.

Never leave without giving him or her a nice hug...never leave without expressing your apologies for things that might have gone wrong.

   
How do I show my elderly relative I love her?

Listen Well

When visiting there is one very important gift you can bring to a Senior and/or homebound friend upon arrival. A listening ear.

Intent listening will give you insight into their state of mind so you can further assist them.

A word of caution...Always keep what you hear confidential. A loving relationship consists of respect for individual privacy.

   
What is a garden of memories?

Plant Your Special Garden of Memories

Start your special garden of memories by:

*Never assuming your elderly loved one is all right, or will ask for your help. Volunteer…volunteer…and volunteer again.

*Discuss current events. By discussing current events, you will be able to discover if something is not right emotionally or physically. If your loved one cannot recall the day of the week, or appears to be distracted or lost, something could be happening to them.

*Get your family involved with your elderly loved one. Encourage your children, or grandchildren to visit.

*Record special moments! When your elderly loved one shares stories of old times, along with cherished memories, record them into a tape recorder, camera, or if not available, jot notes down. These moments will be cherished forever!

   
Should we talk about the past?

Remembering

Sometimes when you are coping with elderly care, you might want to remember the good or bad things that have happened in the past.

My best piece of advice would be -- DON'T!

Move forward...don't look back with regret.

   
How can I make someone elderly happy?

Renewing Relationships

Make your elderly loved one feel special by doing some of the things he or she enjoys doing.

   
What do I do if I get angry?

How to Cope with Anger

Anger is a delicate emotion. When your loved one is defiant and you feel you are at the end of your rope, inhale, exhale, and try not to show your anger.

Take a brisk walk.

   
How do I learn to listen?

Listening

When you are with your elderly loved one, learn to listen to what is being said.

Don't look at your watch, and don't seem preoccupied!

Smile. Listen. Be an important part of life!

   
How can I tell if someone elderly needs special care?

Important Issues

Investigate ways to preserve their finances, assets and make plans to provide for their care, in the event additional medical, financial, or personal care is needed. Speak with trusted professionals to find out exactly how to protect their valuables, and self worth.
Get to know who your elderly loved one really is, along with their preference for medical care. Support their needs while being practical and realistic.

   
Should I do something nice on holidays?

My Special Valentine

Will you be my Valentine?

Take the time to make an original Valentine for your senior. A Valentine photo of family in a heart shaped frame is a thoughtful way to say we love you.

If he or she can have candy, buy a small box of chocolate, wrap it in pretty paper, and give it as a special surprise.

A small potted rose is another great gift that will keep blooming all through the season.

   
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Guru Spotlight
William Pirraglia