A female senior at the kitchen table with her two adult daughters and a female Right at Home caregiver, eating birthday cake A female senior at the kitchen table with her two adult daughters and a female Right at Home caregiver, eating birthday cake

Honoring Wisdom: Unique Ways To Celebrate the Special Elder in Your Life

In this throwaway society that values new over old, things get discarded in the endless pursuit of the latest and greatest. Even people, especially older people, can be left behind. The trouble is, the basic need for human connection does not go away as we age and can actually be more challenging in our later years. Studies show that poor health outcomes and low quality of life in the elderly are related to isolation and loneliness, whether from lack of interaction with friends, family or activities.

Adding to that is the fact that seniors lose people close to them as they age. So, it’s only natural that the number of people they interact with dwindles. One can fill the void by making new friends or forming surrogate families, which can be done in person or virtually. Some seniors are fortunate enough to have friends and family shower them with attention. Others rely on neighbors or home health aides as their plus-one. Regardless of the senior’s situation, every older person can benefit from someone not only looking in on them but also validating their life by helping them enjoy the memories they hold near and dear. So how can you ensure your elderly loved ones feel celebrated?

Make Time To Show Love to Your Senior

There is no shortage of occasions when you can single out your special senior. Beyond spending time with them on their birthday, a holiday, or on a special anniversary or milestone in their life, there are several other recognition days dedicated specifically to older adults, such as National Senior Citizens Day on August 21, Grandparents Day on September 10, and Celebrate Our Elders Week during the first week in October.

These recognition observances are great excuses to acknowledge the wisdom, accomplishments and contributions of your elders. Carving out time to express what an older person means to you and others is a priceless gift.

Choose How You’ll Celebrate

There is no shortage of ways to show that special elder you care. Here are some activities to consider:

  • Prepare their favorite meal or take them to their favorite restaurant; if they still enjoy cooking, collaborate with them on one of their favorite dishes.
  • Organize a party for your senior and invite their friends and loved ones to share old times through stories, photos and mementos.
  • Volunteer with the elder at an organization or for a cause dear to their heart.
  • Record an audio-video interview with the senior about their life and create a “personalized biography” for them and others to enjoy.
  • Do family history research together with your elder, or surprise them with a genealogical archive.
  • Hand-make a gift representing something specific about your elder and make a special presentation of it.
  • Join your senior in a hobby they enjoy, such as gardening, and be willing to be taught or mentored by them.
  • If the senior could use help with chores or repairs around their property, offer to take out the garbage, do yard work, or whatever else needs doing.
  • Take a trip with them to a bucket list destination of theirs or to a favorite place they’ve visited before.

The simple act of listening to a senior and asking what they want or need, and then following through, can be the most precious thing you give someone. It’s all about honoring their wishes and respecting their dignity. Remember, it is about them, not you.

Everyone Has a Story To Tell

Nothing is truer than the saying that everyone has a story to tell. Whether you preserve an elder’s story in words, images or keepsakes, you help ensure their life journey will outlive them. Most people do not look for recognition or expect to be immortalized, but if we’re honest with ourselves and others, we all want to be remembered. Even if the senior in your life resists the idea of getting their due, make it a priority to do it anyway. They might fuss about it, but chances are they will be touched by it. Just don’t overthink it or procrastinate too long because you don’t want to wait until it’s too late.

How Right at Home Can Help

Right at Home provides a range of in-home care options for seniors and adults with disabilities. Everyone’s needs are different, so our care plans are uniquely tailored to each individual. Whether it is companionship/homemaking, personal care, or special situations such as Alzheimer’s/dementia or another condition, Right at Home can be there along each stage of the aging journey. Use our office locator to contact the closest office and get more information.

Author Leo Adam Biga

Leo Adam Biga is a veteran freelance journalist and author who writes stories about people, their passions and their magnificent obsessions. The Omaha native and University of Nebraska at Omaha graduate is the author of “Alexander Payne: His Journey in Film.” Follow his work at https://www.facebook.com/LeoAdamBiga.

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