|Your senior loved one won’t be around forever. Act now to spend time with them. Don’t know what to talk about? Following are some suggestions.
Bless you for wanting to talk with your loved one. Is it your grandma or grandpa? Or even a great grandparent? Or perhaps your parent is now a senior citizen? Hopefully this article will spark some conversations and make some memories.
You may not think of your parent as a senior citizen, but there is a reason that someone over 65 is considered a senior. We start to slow down, forget things, and many experience loneliness. So now that they have entered that stage of life, make a point of being as active as possible in their life.
Here Are My Recommendations For What To Talk About
Those of us that are seniors now have seen many changes and events. You are now reading about them in history books. But we lived some of it.
So yes, you can learn about an event by reading about it. But it will come to life when you hear about it from your loved one.
Additionally, you can ask what it was like for them growing up? Was it happy? What was school like?
What jobs did they have? How much did they earn back then? What did they want to buy with that money?
Did they have siblings? Do you know them? Write this information down. Include dates of birth and death. You may want to trace your ancestors, and your loved one is a walking and talking wealth of information.
Their Opinions of Current Events
They will have insights that are different from the news media and valuable ones at that. You will learn how their values impact how they see the world. You will come away with an education that can’t be learned in the classroom.
What Are Their Favorite Things To Do?
Do you know what they loved to do when they were children, or teenagers? What do they love now? Are they able to do some of these favorite things? If so, can you be a part of that?
My Mom loved to play cards, and when we were with her, we could count on her wanting to play. Even in her last months, and being on oxygen, we could count on her to usually win! I am sure this brought her much joy and I have wonderful memories.
What Are They Most Proud Of?
We all love to boast about our accomplishments, however small they may be. And most of us don’t get the chance to do that. So, opening with this question should help them think back to some positive memories.
You can follow up with where this happened, how old they were at that time, and who else might have been involved. This can lead to other information about this topic.
Is There Something They Need Help With?
Some of us are hesitant to ask for help, even when we need it. Some seniors may be reluctant to try new things, especially technology. I have an article that begins to address this issue and you can read it here: Why Seniors Don’t Use the Internet.
If you want to help them with technology, or any task for that matter, be patient! We can still learn, but it takes us a while to master a new concept!
They may also need something fixed in the house, or to be taken to the grocery store. Do this with them. It is a chance to learn more about them.
Other Helpful Activities You Can Do With Your Loved One
The bane of our existence is paperwork. And seniors probably get more than their share. Help them set up a simple filling system to stay on top of this. A simple method is to let them name the file and then alphabetize it.
Help them to determine junk mail, and to throw it out right away. Help them learn what they can recycle as well.
Also, now may be a good time to discuss financial arrangements. They should have a trusted loved one as a co-signer and owner of all their accounts.
As we age, we take more medication. This can be a really challenging task for us. Just remembering which one to take and when to take it can stress us out. Add to that the fact that the pills are very often tiny, so we have trouble seeing them and picking them up.
I highly recommend some sort of a tool to organize their medications. Determine what system would work best for them. I reviewed a few products here: Pill Dispensers for the Elderly.
It is almost impossible to stay on top of this problem. You yourself need to keep current so you can warn your loved one. We all know the stories of the grandparent scams where the scammers tell the grandparent their grandson is in jail and they need bail money.
I have a few articles about this. But you must keep current and check constantly that your senior doesn’t get caught in this despicable crime against them. Here in the US, the IRS posts information about scams. Click on this link to the IRS website.
Make a Video or Audio Recording
I wish I had done this more with my Dad, Mom and even my now deceased brother. These videos and audios provide a link to our loved ones once they are gone.
My daughter and I were pleased to find an old VCR of her great grandfather. My Mom had the presence of mind to record him. He was 98 in the video, with a mind as clear as could be. We now have his voice and his actions recorded for all time. Very precious. Don’t wait. Do this today!
Make a Memory Book
This is an activity you can do with them! As you talk with them, you can write down details. If you have pictures that go with the memory, all the better! This doesn’t have to be fancy, although there are some products on the market for this.
Find out what would work best for your loved one. They might be able to do this themselves, and gifting a memory book to start with would make a great present!
Watch this video of sweet seniors! You are guaranteed to smile.
My Personal Experience
I grew up in the 60s. Little did I know that period would be so amazing! We had the best music, the best cars, and gas was cheap! (25 cents a gallon!) But nothing is perfect, and we were in the middle of the Vietnam War, President Kennedy had been shot, and race relations were terrible.
What a dynamic time to live! If you have someone who lived that, sit down with them. You’ll learn about history from their perspective.
I personally don’t want to talk about the Vietnam War. It was a divisive time in America, and we lost too many young men. But maybe a veteran would have some important insights. I do love to talk about cars and music though, and have tried to educate my children about those things that I loved.
Find out what your loved one wants to remember! Get them to talk about it.
The time you spend talking with your loved one will pay off for years to come. In the meantime, they will have enjoyed a few hours with you, helping them not feel lonely and also helping them feel valued.
Have I helped you to engage with your loved one? I hope so. If you have other suggestions, please leave them below.
And if you have questions, please leave them in the comments as well. I will do my best to find the answer.