It is important to recognize and show appreciation for the value and contributions of older adults to society. Here are some ways to engage with older adults:
- Say hello. Has it been a while since you last spoke to a family member who is an older adult? Or do you have a neighbor who is an older adult that you have not met yet? Sometimes, simply reaching out to say hello with words or with a smile can mean so much.
- Spend time with an older adult. This could be a parent, grandparent, neighbor or friend. Let them know how much you appreciate and respect them. Visit them at their homes, play board games or even read their favorite novel to them.
- Do something fun. Get them out of the house, move around and have a good time! Take them to a park, a museum, the movies, out to lunch or even to the mall. Make today a special occasion! Do something that they enjoy and they’ll remember the thoughtful gesture.
- Help with chores and errands. Spend some time helping them around the house with errands that need to be taken care of. It may seem like a small contribution, but they will be appreciative of your offer to help them out. Do whatever they need done like mowing the lawn, laundry, washing the dishes, going to pick up their prescriptions or even going grocery shopping.
- Share stories and memories. Sometimes the best part about spending time with the older generation is listening to the stories and memories that they have to share. Encourage them to take a trip down memory lane and listen to the stories and accounts of what life was like for them in their past. You never know, you may learn something about them that you didn’t know before! More importantly, these conversations can forge relationship building.
- Make plans to volunteer. Sign up to volunteer at a senior living facility sometime this year. Volunteering allows you to spend time with older adults, especially those who aren’t visited often by family members.
Our older community can often feel isolated, which can cause an increase in depression and anxiety. If you know of an older adult struggling with a behavioral health or substance use issue, please encourage them to come to UofL Health – Peace Hospital’s Assessment and Referral Center located at 2020 Newburg Road, Louisville, Ky. for a no-cost level-of-care assessment. We are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.