As they age and reach the twilight of their lives it is quite it is quite likely that many thoughts would be running in the minds of elders. While there is no doubt that financial security would be on the top of their mind, this alone may not lead to their happiness. There are other important things too which are as important as financial security. In today’s fast paced world where time is a premium commodity for many youngsters, quite often the elder members of the family are left behind. Many of them may suffer from bouts of depression caused by loneliness because of various reasons. Then there is the constant fear of health related matters which also makes elderly people unhappy and always in a tensed and stressed bent of mind. In countries like
Singapore where majority of husbands and wives have to work to keep the family running, the concept of joint family has all but been abandoned. The elders in most situations are forced to stay in old age homes or alone in homes of their own. Though they may not suffer from financial discomfort pangs of loneliness and being neglected certainly begin to take a toll on their mind, emotion and eventually their bodies. Here are a few things which perhaps will go a long way in keeping the elders in a good and jovial mood. It is the responsibility of the younger generation to walk the talk instead of just providing lip service.
Be In Regular Telephonic Touch With Them
As mentioned above, one of the biggest problems faced by elders is a feeling of being neglected and not being cared for. It would not be ideal to have a timetable to talk to your parents or grandparents. These relationships are too precious to be straight jacketed. You must take some time off and surprise them with unscheduled calls. You should particularly be aware of the special events like birthdays and other such events so that the elders can have a feeling that they are being remembered and cared for. There is nothing like calling your grandmother and granddad at least once a day and spending some time with them.
Meet Them Up As Often As Possible
There is nothing more satisfactory and fulfilling for the elderly than getting an opportunity to meet their kith and kin in person as regularly as possible. This is not a big thing to ask of the younger generation. It would therefore not be a bad idea to visit the elders along with all members of the family and spend some time with them. While many of us spend Christmas and other vacations in some tourist resorts, it would be a great tribute to the elders if we spent a few such vacations with them. Their happiness will certainly be the best gift that you can give to them. It doesn’t cost big money and it is all about your attitude towards the elder members of your family.
Provide Them With Community Resources
While you may as children have taken care of the financial and health aspects of your elders, you must ensure that they have avenues by which they can be kept meaningfully engaged. Towards this objective you must try and identify some good community resources. They offer number of activities including games, social platforms and other such things. This will go a long way in addressing their concerns about being lonely and alone. It will also help them to remain happy and even physically fit.
Look For Events Which They Enjoy
You have to remember that many elders may have aged only physically and their minds and emotions might still continue to be very young. The onus therefore lies on you to find out ways and means by which you can take them to events which they enjoy. For example it is quite likely that all elders would like to be a part of the National Day. Hence it would not be a bad idea to take them for these celebrations and make them enjoy the event with you and perhaps other family members. This is something which they will remember and cherish for a long period of time. Singapore Arts Festival is also another event which can be thought about.
Find Out Their Areas Of Interests
As elderly people, it is quite obvious that they will have their own areas of interests and likings. They may not be forthcoming about these things. Hence, as responsible and loving youngsters, you must spend time with them and try and identify the things which they like and relish a lot. While some may like games and sports, others could have an inclination towards book reading or may like to enjoy in some philanthropy activities. The responsibility lies with the youngsters to find out their specific areas of interests and make sure that they are able to enjoy it as best as possible.
Do They Need A Geriatric Care
As they age, it is quite natural for them to have a number of physical, mental and even emotional challenges. They may lose their capacity to do independently take care of their day to day activities. In such situation, it is the responsibility of the youngsters to identify their needs. They may need geriatric care and support and you must ensure that the same is provided to them without too much wastage of time.
Make Them Comfortable With Modern Day Technology
Instead of ridiculing your parents and grandparents about their inability to keep pace with latest technology, you would do better to teach them the basics of modern day technology. There may be many elders who may not know how to operate a computer or even a smart phone. Teaching them the usage would help you as the care provider to be in regular touch with them.
Hence at the end of the day, it is the complete and total responsibility of the younger generation to treat elders with respect and compassion. They should be made to feel that they are a part of the extended family instead of being pushed out of the orbit. As youngsters you have to always keep in mind that they also will become elders one day and they too would like to be happy at all points of time.