Show the love

Published: 22/05/2019

Valentine’s Day might be over, but that doesn’t mean that we have to forget about showing love – or that romantic love is the only kind we ought to focus on.

Valentine’s Day might be over, but that doesn’t mean that we have to forget about showing love – or that romantic love is the only kind we ought to focus on.
When it comes to our elderly friends and relatives, little things can show love in big ways – and here are just ten of the simple things you could do to show a loved one that they matter, and you’re there for them.
Calling or visiting
Not just because there’s an occasion, or you have something significant to say – just because you want to say hello or have a little catch up on their news, a lot of elderly people feel lonely and that they might be a burden on people if they call them, so they hold back – but it could make someone’s day if you just make a simple, quick telephone call to say good morning, or pop in to say hello in person.
Send a card or letter
If you aren’t much of a talker there are few things nicer than receiving a nice greetings card – again, not for any special occasion, but a letter or postcard that just say hello will put a smile on many faces.
Ask their stories
Older people have lived through a great many experiences – and they love to share their stories with younger people, giving advice or just connecting over shared experiences and similarities.
Take photographs
Memories can fade – and photo albums are a great way for older people to remember special occasions and people. Don’t stop taking photos – and print out those digital phone snaps to share with elderly relatives so they feel part of your day to day life.
Take them out
It’s harder for older people to get out and about independently – so why not include them in your routine? Even simple chores like popping to the supermarket can be a good way to maintain independence and confidence.
Tea and cake
When you’re short on time, even something as quick and simple as making a cup of tea and serving a nice slice of cake can brighten the day of someone who struggles with those little things, and might choose to go without rather than struggle.
Arrange care
If you’re further away, or just can’t pop over every day to check whether they need help, consider organising care; there are many levels of this, ranging from a quick visit to check things are ok to more significant, live-in support. Either way;
Involve them in the decisions
Unless there is a significant reason why not to (for example, dementia which has progressed quite far, limiting their understanding) be sure to involve your elderly loved ones in the planning and decisions for their care – let them feel that their needs are being met and respected, even when it’s challenging to let go of independence or to admit that they need help. If they feel heard and understood, it’s less upsetting than simply being overruled.
Have a little tidy up
You don’t need to Marie Kondo their garage, but it’s lovely to have someone whip around with a duster and vacuum cleaner and open a couple of windows to let the fresh air in – and as we get older, many of us find household chores increasingly difficult to manage alone. Help to do those jobs or to source a reliable cleaner who can lift the pressure.
Encourage new friendships
Old age can be very isolating – particularly when friends and peers begin to drift away, and loneliness is a very real danger to older people. As well as keeping in regular contact yourself, encourage your loved ones to get out of their homes and join social clubs, to meet new people and continue making new friends, establishing new relationships. Friendship isn’t just for the young – and it can make all of us feel young at heart.
What other tips do you think have helped your loved ones? Let us know in the comments.