May is National Elder Law month. With ten-thousand baby boomers turning sixty-five every day, the senior population is growing rapidly, making National Elder Law Month a great time to consider how we can all do our part to care for seniors. Are you wondering how? Let us take a look at five tips for caring for aging seniors.
1. Encourage staying active. Physical activity has long been correlated with both physical and mental well-being. It is also something that should be done on a regular basis to increase endurance. Taking a senior on a short walk or even to sit outside may help improve his or her mood.
2. Have conversations. Being dismissed as incapable is often reported as one of the hardest parts of aging. After a lifetime of independence, it can be extraordinarily difficult to suddenly be the one being told what to do and how to do things. Intellectual stimulation can be a great way to keep a senior’s memory intact. Taking the time to sit with a senior and discuss family, what has been going on with him or her, the news, or a book can be a win-win for both keeping the mind sharp and improving social and emotional well-being.
3. Encourage a hobby. Due to isolation, many seniors often spend hours in front of a television set. The news can be on for an extended period of time, which can increase stress and worry. A hobby can be a much more satisfying outlet. A person’s older years can be a great time to take up painting, pen a book, scrapbook, or anything else that may be interesting and engaging. Consider talking to the senior in your life about what interests him or her and provide assistance in getting the supplies to work on a new hobby.
4. Seek socialization. Humans are social beings. We all know how uplifting it can feel to go out to eat, or meet up with a friend for coffee. Making the extra effort to drive a senior out somewhere or providing transportation to a family gathering may seem minimal to you, but it may mean the world to him or her.
5. Share the responsibility. Taking care of a senior takes a lot of time and personal responsibility. This can be especially stressful, when it is balanced between work and taking care of your own family. One of the best things you can do for a senior is not get burned out. Make a point of enlisting the help of other friends and family members, and even consider making a schedule, so everybody knows when it is their turn to pitch in.
While following these tips can improve a senior’s happiness, National Elder Law Month can also be an excellent time to assure your loved one’s estate planning documents and long-term care planning are in order. Consider assisting your senior loved one in meeting with an estate planning attorney to discuss.
Our office can guide a family through their estate planning options. Please contact our office today to schedule a meeting with attorney Alan Hougum.