The holiday season is almost over, and most of us had to say goodbye to our aging loved ones who visited with us. We dislike that part, do we not? How can we recreate the warm and cozy moments with them when we are apart? Well, this is the time of the year when we make new year resolutions and write down our wish lists. Did you ever ask yourself why we do that? One of those reasons is to help us keep our thoughts focused on what is important. As you know, our minds are always focused on something. If we do not consciously focus on and think about worthwhile goals, we often default to negative, self-defeating thinking. Elderly, because they feel that they have nothing else to accomplish, very often fall into this thought pattern.
Did you know that having something to look forward to is critically important not only for our Elderly, but also for our mental health? The Bible says, and we paraphrase it here, that “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Let us not allow them to perish. Let us help our Seniors, and by doing so help ourselves, to paint a positive, brighter, healthier vision for 2016. A vision that will uplift their spirits and give them something to look forward to.
The wonderful part about this activity is that it is bound to bring you closer to your loved ones. It will allow you to learn more about their inner thoughts, values and aspirations. Our prediction is that what they would like to accomplish in 2016 will have nothing to do with material things and everything to do with the things that money can’t buy.
You can embrace task in-person, by phone, via email, or by old-fashioned hand-written correspondence. Women are usually much better planners and enjoy such undertakings. The purpose of this project is to fill up calendar of your aging loved ones and, therefore, their daily thoughts with dates and events centered around their Family, friends and activities that bring joy into their lives.
Start by asking and filling the dates with the following:
• Whose birthdays are coming up in January, February, March, etc.?
• Whose anniversaries are coming up and in what month?
• Which of the children will have their birthday in March, April, etc.?
• When are the grandchildren going to have their birthdays?
• Which of the grandchildren will be getting married in May, June, etc.?
• Who is getting a new house and will throw a house-warming party in July?
• Where will Mom and Dad go for Family outdoor picnic in May?
• Which of the children and/or grandchildren is pregnant and when will they give birth to a new Family member?
As you know, this activity is a process, and that process is the reward in and of itself. Do not expect it to be a 30-minute closed-end chore. Rather, allow it to be a journey of discovery that you can take part in every time you communicate with your loved one. Every time you chat with Mom, you can ask her to look at the calendared events for the upcoming week and month. You can review them together. You can talk about the details together. If your time is limited, ask Mom’s Caregiver to review the calendar with her and chat about the events on a daily basis.
This is wonderfully helpful if your loved one suffers from any form of dementia. This activity will cue in their minds, their thoughts, and lift up their spirits. This activity is a gift that will keep on giving all year long. There is a beginning to this, but there really is no end. Every goal accomplished sets new goals in motion. The deeper you walk into this forest, the more trees you will help your loved one to see and get excited about. So fill up Mom and Dad’s calendar with so much goodness that there is no room, nor time for gloom.
As the Biblical words suggest, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” A calendar filled with exciting events, replaces negativity with positive thoughts. Those Family-centered events truly give all of us a worthy vision, something to look forward to, cozy and warm feelings we can cherish in our daily thoughts and prayers.
With love for the Elderly…