Ready for a Little, ok not so Little,‘Guilt Trip’?
With the holidays behind us it all too easy to forget about your Aunt June or your Grandpa Harold, but let’s face it they haven’t forgotten you! For that matter, they’re probably worrying right now about the next holiday season and when they might see or hear from you again.
Anxiety about seeing or hearing from loved ones is an all too familiar problem with our older population and with a few simple, thoughtful measures, by family members we can put their mind at ease. Take Valentine’s Day for instance, love comes in all guises and romantic love, which is what this holiday was originally about, is the most fleeting of all. Really though, Valentine’s day has morphed into something much broader these days and as a relative of an older adult you should take advantage of this opportunity to let them know you love them…
As people get older, they reflect back on their lives more regularly, sometimes get sad and cry, or just sit their wistfully thinking about happier days and oftentimes, those happier days include you!So, why not do something about it?
What does it take to send a card, flowers, chocolates or a homemade card with an old photo of you and them? Not much really and I’m certain we can all spare a few moments from the ‘rat race’ to let our older loved ones know they’re not forgotten.
As a company that provides care and assistance to your older loved ones, we see the loneliness that comes with old age first hand, and thankfully our caregivers do their best to fill the void of distant family members but really, it’s just not the same.
I can guarantee you that your older loved one will completely forget what they were talking about with our caregivers, and perhaps even the caregiver’s name when they get that card or gift in the mail from you. I then envision a broad beaming smile, perhaps a tear or two, and finally a moment of pure joy and happiness knowing they have not been forgotten by you!
At least once a day I hear someone say ‘I’m too busy’ or ‘I don’t have time’ for all sorts of things… is that person you? Our older relatives come from a time when life was much slower and although they do appreciate that it’s a different world out there, with all sorts of modern gadgetry which further speed up our lives and give us less time, it doesn’t take away from the fact that they sometimes feel hurt and forgotten.
According to a recent AARP study, 43% of older adults reported feeling lonely on a regular basis, so just think what Valentine’s Day can be like?
I am uncertain what current-day statistics show, but a study by the Special Committee on Aging by the US Senate in the mid-70s showed that 50% of older adults who live in a care home have no living relatives or viable relationships with family members…
Frankly, I find this a very sad statistic so if you’re of a mind to make a difference for someone in this situation who’s a complete stranger, here’s one suggestion:
AARP, Meals On Wheels and Mentor.org are in their 2nd year of their ‘Love Letters’ campaign that encourages young people to create handmade Valentine’s Day cards to lift the spirits of older adults this Valentine’s Day. Handmade cards will be included in meal deliveries to Meals on Wheels clients across the country and individuals who participate will be eligible to receive a $10,000 scholarship, subject to rules and conditions.
Happy Valentines Day!
Scott Smith is the Managing Director of Comforcare La Jolla/San Diego, a home care agency which has been serving the Clairemont area for over 10 years. Their company is known for their professionalism, 24/7 support and widespread community involvement to provide an affordable service for those in need. Scott can be reached at 858.900.5257 and is always glad to see if they can help or refer to other community services.