Every once in a while we look around our neighborhood and realize we haven’t seen one of our seniors lately. Maybe they didn’t decorate for the holidays as they usually do, or we haven’t seen them enjoying their daily walk around the block. Even within a family unit, we suddenly realize our loved one isn’t taking part in our usual festivities.
If you have noticed that in your own neighborhood or family, here are five ways you, and I, can get them involved once again.
Help them stay connected with the rest of the world. Many of us seniors have adapted to the “new” means of communication such as cell phones, emails, and social media options such as Facebook. But, others have not yet joined the rest of us. They may think they are too old to start texting or sending and receiving emails, or they may not have had anyone to teach them how. You could be the one in your family to teach grandma or grandpa how to keep in touch with the outside world, even if they tend to stay at home most of the time.
If you have an old computer that still works, take it to an elderly person. Teach them how to operate it to send and receive emails. What a great way to keep them connected to their family and friends who are probably also online. You may have to write down the instructions so that they can refer to the steps necessary to login or remember how to send a text, but they will appreciate the cheat sheet and the possibility of learning something new. Make sure you are one of the people they hook up with so that you can keep the lines of communication open. They will love you for it!
Donate your time. If someone in your neighborhood is getting too old to fix up their house or keep up the garden they have tended for years, you could donate a couple of hours each week to help them out. They will not only get much needed assistance, but your encouragement and help will also give them something to look forward to. Just look around. You’ll be able to discover what needs to be done. If there is an extensive list of things to do, enlist the help of a couple other people – take a lunch along and make it a party! The senior will appreciate the help and the company.
Seniors can particularly use your help in:
- Taking out the trash
- Mowing the lawn
- Painting indoors and outdoors
- Shoveling snow
Take daily walks with an elderly neighbor who doesn’t feel comfortable or safe going out on their own. Exercise will help keep them mobile and keep their spirits up, too. And you may just learn tidbits of history and wisdom from their perspective.
Help with holiday decorations. One of the saddest situations for those who are aging is that they quite often are no longer able to decorate for the holidays after years of enjoyment. If you have seniors in your neighborhood who have not been decorating as they used to, offer to help them this coming year. They often miss out on the fun of holidays because they aren’t able to handle the traditions and decorations anymore. Yet they usually have boxes of items that made their holidays special over the years. Make sure you return to put them all away!
Create a bird watching opportunity. My grandmother loved to watch the birds in her yard, and later in ours when she moved in with us. Birds are always a delight to watch for those who are homebound. Take over a bird feeder and keep it filled with birdseed. Hummingbirds are fun to watch. Keep their feeder filled with fresh hummingbird nectar for hours of entertainment!
There you have it – five simple ways to make a difference in an elderly person’s life. All you have to do is make the decision to help and then do it. It’s just that simple!