We all know "Our Health" as we get older can take many twists and turns. Knowing these realities, it is more important that we take guidance and learn from those who already walked this path or are at present living their "Golden Years" the best way they know how.
For today - I do not speak of physical health but rather mental health! Example: If you have an illness that is either diagnosed or undiagnosed, one goes to see their health care provider to feel better, usually obtaining a prescription to help. The prescription I wish to talk about today is "TIME". I have walked down this road and speak from experience with a loved one.
I share with you my research on emotional connection and how loneliness is affecting our seniors.
This is the way I see it:
More "TIME" today = More "LIFE -TIME" for them!
Do you have a loved one in their seniors years, facing change from either a forced life event or maybe you have started preplanning to ensure safety and security remains in place?
To better grasp the point I am attempting to make, and if this type of situation applies to you, please step into the shoes of your loved one who is aging and review some of the decisions or life events that have happened to them in the last 5 years!
FACT #1: Over 99 percent of my conversations with seniors who have children -YOU (kids) yes YOU are still what puts the twinkle in their eyes and the smile on their faces. It does not matter if you are 20 or 50 years of age!
FACT #2: I hear this over and over from seniors, "I do not want to be a burden on my children"
Back to the questions:
Has your senior lost their spouse- and if so was it a life partnership that spanned multiple decades?
Have they been diagnosed with a life illness that is affecting them doing the things they love to do?
Are they making a change to let the family home go and move into accommodations that are more manageable?
Have they lost interest in things you remember them loving in their past?
Reflect for a few moments on how you would feel if you had to deal with any one of those! Knowing that everyone's life situation is different, I simply am attempting to convey the GIFT of TIME may heal more than you know. (That clock that ticks every second that we think can be annoying - is music to many seniors and clicking at a much faster pace now)
For your loved one - How can you slow down for a moment to make TIME count for them?
It needs to be understood that people can die prematurely from loneliness or social isolation- this is real. Please take into consideration the two facts I shared above from my own research and find ways to help your senior navigate both short term and long term solutions. If you ever have to complete the move for your parents or parent from the family home due to downsizing, there is a reason you are more than likely finding obscure things from your childhood. You are entering their memory box of life! So tread carefully and find ways some of those memories can come to life in their new home- this is part of BRIDGING THE GAP.
Seniors who have their loved ones as active participants in life through these life transitions, are much more successful. If you live far away, technology can help and most places have ways to connect. Many seniors are technology savvy, especially if it means spending time with children or grandchildren. Top tip: plan short term and long term- avoid ramping up visits in the beginning of the transition and then letting them fall off.
It is a team of people that can help navigate transitions (Family, friends, church, healthcare). Simply understanding who is taking the time to visit- is a way to be more engaged in your loved ones life- it should not fall on one person. Remember if you are a son or daughter chances are if you are not talking to them, they are still talking about you! This is LEGACY, continuing the emotional connection will bridge the GAP and overall enhance their quality of LIFE.
Warm wishes for health and happiness- here are my nature pictures from yesterday in the cold NORTH! The curious squirrel - nipped my hand and wanted to jump in my pocket and the beaver on a mission for building his home:-)
Live Blue Consulting