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One of the most important aspects of family life is how you can help make one another’s lives better. Families are all about support, caring for one another, and ensuring that all family members are living the best experience they possibly can.
For many families, much of their focus on ensuring happiness is focused on the youngest generation. You and your parents think about the lives of your kids and how you can give them everything they may possibly need. You think about the experience your children need, the things they need to learn, and what you can do to ensure they are experiencing the best version of life possible.
As wonderful as this is, it might be worth occasionally thinking about your older family members– be it your own parents, your uncles, and aunts, or anyone else who is from the generation prior to yours. There’s so much you can do to ensure these members of your family are living the best experience possible, encouraging them to undertake tasks that benefit them in terms of practicality, health, and general enjoyment of life. Here are a few ideas you may want to try…
#1 – Learning a new language
This idea may seem a little out of left field, especially if your older relative has never particularly expressed an interest in learning a language or traveling. However, there is a method behind the randomness: learning a new language is incredibly beneficial for brain health.
We all know that dementia and age-related illnesses are a huge threat to health and well-being for the older generations, but it’s important to remember that these conditions are not inevitable. Learning a language is one of the best ways to encourage mental stimulation, which many doctors believe is absolutely key to warding off age-related illnesses.
To maximize the benefits, you could even join them as they embark on their new language learning, giving you a fun activity to bond over, improving their health, and adding a string to your own bow!
#2 – Accepting assistance
Many of us will recognize the fact that the Baby Boomer generation are rather unwilling to ask for help, even when they need it. This characteristic tends to mean that you’ll need to offer help, rather than waiting to be asked.
There are a number of tasks you may be able to assist your older relative with. Perhaps they need help finding out if they can save money on their gas and electricity supply, or they may have concerns about a health problem that Medicare does not cover and thus need assistance navigating to GoMedigap.com for more information. Offering to assist with these things ensures they do not have to do without because they don’t want to directly ask you.
If they say that they don’t want to bother you, or it’s too much trouble and they’ll figure it out, just be cheerful and say you don’t mind. Over time, accepting assistance with these tasks should become more palatable to them, and you’ll enjoy being able to assist them where necessary.
#3 – Connecting with new friends
Encouraging your older family member to make new friends is always a good idea. Loneliness is a real problem for the older generation, and it’s one that only seems to be getting worse. By encouraging and supporting your family member to dip a toe into the social scene, you will be doing their health and well-being the world of good. The larger their circle of friends, the better.
You could suggest they join social groups, attend coffee mornings, or even join up with online services that can help connect like-minded silver surfers. These social interactions are so important and meeting new people can be genuinely energizing for your family member and will help protect their overall health in the long-run.
#4 – Exercising
Many older people begin to slow down as they age; this is a natural part of the aging process, as years of stress and strains on their body begin to tell. However, avoiding physical activity isn’t going to help this issue– in fact, it could make it worse.
Encouraging your older family member to engage in physical activity is an excellent way of helping them to maintain good health. Opt for exercises that are gentle; swimming is always a good choice, as is simply going for a long walk together. Not only do they benefit physically from the exercise, but also mentally; it has been theorized that exercise may have a role to play in the prevention and management of dementia.
#5 – Talking about their lives
Along with refusing to ask for help, many people of the older generations prefer to keep their emotions hidden and not discuss their issues. This, ultimately, can have an adverse impact on their mental health.
Every so often, encourage them to open up to you, discuss their feelings, and vent any frustrations. If you can help resolve any problems they voice, then by all means offer, but for the most part, just patiently listening is all they will need.
#6 – Producing art
As noted on noted on HolidayTouch.com, there are numerous medical benefits to producing artwork, so this is definitely a hobby you’re going to want to encourage your older relatives to try. There are so many different mediums to try — from watercolor painting to pottery to creating cross-stitch — then your relative is bound to find something that interests them, and what’s more, they have a use of time that can produce something genuinely beautiful.
Begin the conversation by talking about what kind of art they might like to try, and then potentially gift them a starter set to encourage them to pursue the hobby. If they want to try something you’ve always liked the sound of, then double down on the benefits, and start a new hobby together!
From help with health to genuine practical life benefits, encouraging your older family members to try any — or all! — of the above will help to ensure that the entire family is being looked cared for.