Change is one of those funny things in life that can take on many different meanings for all of us.
Long-awaited, joyful or expected changes are exciting. On the flip side, change can be quite the opposite.
No matter what stage of life you're in, change can be difficult and it's good to ask for support. It's also good to be that support system when change is happening to another.
As we get older, change seems to happen faster. We can see it in our parents or grandparents as once simple activities become a little bit harder or take a bit more time. You might notice them struggle more with the TV remote or forget to pay a bill. Frustration can creep in when routines are messed up.
Change can be challenging for older adults, with the added stress and worry of losing their independence to cognitive and physical changes. And this stress can affect existing health conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
What can you do to help older adults manage change?
Whether in person or from afar, there are many ways you can help older loved ones cope in times of change. Here are some suggestions.
- Stay in touch regularly. From a daily phone call to a weekly visit, try to keep to a regularly scheduled time to connect with your loved ones. Consistency is key.
- Listen. You can’t stop changes from happening but you can be a sounding board or simply a caring ear to listen. Let your loved ones know you respect and understand what they are going through.
- Keeps options simple and well-defined. When big changes are happening, like a move to a retirement home or bringing in a caregiver, support your loved one by providing choices that are clearly outlined in order to avoid overwhelming them.
- Minimize disruptions. Keep to routines as much as possible. For example, have a regularly scheduled day and time to take them grocery shopping. For appointments, remind them well in advance as well as the day before. Keep a calendar posted on the fridge to note important events.
- Create moments of joy. From a surprise visit to a small gift that lets them know you are thinking of them, little moments of comfort will bring a smile to their face.
In times of change, it is important to stay in touch with your loved ones and support them as much as possible. That's a really big reason we stayed very close to our family members during their times of change. We learned that supporting family and friends doesn't end, no matter the age.
It's beneficial to stay connected and develop strong relationships or support and trust with your parents and grandparents.
At Alder & Owl, our goal is to help you foster that connection throughout the year with carefully curated gift boxes for any occasion…or no occasion at all.
How do you help your parents or grandparents cope with change? Share with our community in the comments below.