These days we have forgotten what Thanksgiving is all about. We are more focused on what would be served on the table, how the house should look like and who to invite for Thanksgiving dinner. However, despite the consumeristic approach of this day, we still manage to be thankful for something. This is something that should be re-focused for Thanksgiving especially for the ones that need it the most.
Statistics show that the millions of today’s elderly rarely get to be sociable and be around people during Thanksgiving much more be surrounded by their loved ones. It is here that more than 20% of adults from the age of 50 above begin to feel the effects of loneliness. It is also from such loneliness that they begin to wither away.
However, you will be surprised to know that this kind of loneliness does not stem overnight. In fact, there are several factors on why elderly people begin to find themselves isolated and detached from others and themselves. These are:
1. Problems with their disability
2. Language Barriers
3. Caregiving responsibilities
4. Lack of transportation
5. Loss of a job or something to do
6. Death of a loved one (most of the time a spouse or someone of importance to them)
Simply by looking at these reasons, you can say that the effects of these changes can turn to dire consequences on their mental health. One study even suggests that the effects of isolation in the elderly can be equated to smoking 15 cigarettes in one day.
However, this can be easily fixed by the family and caregivers. Each play an important role in their elderly loved one’s health and this should not be easily disregarded. It is also interesting to know that there are so many possibilities on how one could help.
Here is a list on what you can do to lift up the elderly’s spirits this Thanksgiving:
1. Check up on them. You don’t know how much this means to them, to know that they are remembered and not cast away from the people they call as family. You don’t have to stick to your own but you can also spread it to others such as your neighbors or that lonely looking senior that sits by the window every day.
2. Probe politely. There is nothing wrong with checking in on their health but some seniors tend to be touchy-feely when someone inquires them about their health. Don’t force the topic when they seem to be uncomfortable but rather be insightful enough to listen and watch their response before making your next move.
3. Offer them to go outside. It doesn’t have to be a job ride but it can be in simple places such as the doctor, the mall, the community center or even the supermarket.
4. Teach them how to use technology. Devices and apps such as the smartphone and Skype have helped bridge distances and gaps over the years and it could also help you get in touch with them easily and more often. Furthermore, it will also give the younger, more tech-savvy generation a good excuse to bridge the generation gap
5. Make room for them at the Thanksgiving table. Always and never forget that Thanksgiving should be about something we are grateful for and that includes looking out for everyone. Never leave out your elderly loved one. You’ll never know how much this means to them.Tags: family, homecare, thanksgiving