Throughout many people’s childhood and teen years, they often hear the phrase “Respect and honour your elders,” it becomes etched on their brains. This feeling applies to our relationship to those who came before us, and rightfully so. The lives we enjoy come as a result of those who have lived through a generation before us, and more specifically, gave birth to and raised us. Even where one may disagree with their elders, their experiences and lives are at the very least worth paying due regard to because with it comes lessons that can be handed down.
1. Spend time with them
Whether they’re unemployed or a social life, many seniors will feel alone. It’s important that they still maintain a rich social network or else they can get alienated over time; this can lead to deterioration in health and mental wellbeing. It is important to take time to visit elderly loved ones, because relationships are an essential part of human life. By simply arranging family meetings or even outings for elers, you can stay connected with them.
2. Asking for advice.
Elders are some of the wisest people in society. It’s a shame to think that an elder, with a lifetime of experience, would be overlooked for their advice. Seeking counsel from an elder is time well spent because they’ll provide important life experiences. By taking advice from elders, you will be able to honor those same experiences and knowledge and thus make them feel dignified.
3. Eat together.
Eating together is one of the common social pastimes for a lot of people. Whether you venture to a favorite restaurant, pack a picnic, or visit your senior loved one’s home and try to eat together on a regular basis. Several studies have noted that eating together with friends and family can provide a positive food experience, which is intrinsically relate to positive emotions as well.
4. Discuss family heritage, history and traditions.
There’s an undeniable strength in family stories. In fact, putting together an oral family history can not only bring family members together and strengthen the ties between generations, but they can also educate about family genetics, personalities, and more. Family history translates into stronger family bonds and life successes. In fact, recent studies have shown that children who have more knowledge of their family history also tend to show greater emotional resilience, facing stress and challenges more effectively as they have a stronger sense of where they come from and who they are.
- Career highlights (e.g., significant work achievements, favorite job)
- Family history (e.g., genealogy, origins of the family)
- Life advice (e.g., view on aging, words of wisdom to share with children and grandchildren)
- Personal history (e.g., childhood memories, dating history)
Almost like a puzzle, heritage is many pieces that form a masterpiece to comprise an individual and their journey. Taking the time to visit aging loved ones during the holidays to no to not only reconnect, but also gather pieces of their heritage puzzle, can provide important info to pass on for posterity.
5. Tell them how much you appreciate and respect them.
Even if you demonstrate that you respect your elders through your actions, it’s important to actually tell them how much you appreciate and respect them. Compliments and giving people purpose, is a very positive message. If there is a senior who has positively impacted you, make sure to share this with them.
6. Visiting/volunteering at senior living communities.
By visiting or volunteering senior living communities, you communicate to seniors that you care. You give them purpose and conversation through social interaction. Regardless whether your loved one lives there or not, it is still an excellent way to reach out to the older community and show them that you care. While volunteer opportunities may vary between communities, building relationships with the residents of the community can be most worthwhile. Providing an escort for an outdoor walk, having a discussion, and spending time in general can not only put a smile on a resident’s face, but also provide much needed support and encouragement.