For some people, asking for help can be difficult – it leaves them feeling vulnerable and opens them up for rejection. But we all need help sometimes. By simply communicating our needs, we can give others a sense of purpose and the chance to connect.
Research from Northwestern University revealed seniors refusal for help often revolves around their fear of losing independence or becoming a burden to family and friends. While living independently may be a priority for seniors, so is ensuring their safety. Here are a few simple ways you can offer to help your older loved ones:
- Keep them up to date on doctor’s visits: Routine visits to the doctor are essential for maintaining good physical health. Encourage an aging adult to see their doctor by offering to schedule their next appointment or giving them a ride. Or, if they need to refill medication, offer to pick it up for them at the pharmacy.
- Complete outside activities, like yard work: For some seniors, especially those living alone, it can be especially strenuous to keep up with regular yard maintenance. Consider helping an older neighbor or friend by shoveling the driveway, raking leaves, or mowing the lawn.
- Teach tech basics: Technology is a great way for seniors to connect with family and friends. Video chat platforms like Skype or Zoom and tablets such as an iPad or GrandPad can supplement social interactions when in-person visits aren’t possible. Remind them to brush up safety tips — such as using secure passwords, avoid sharing personal information, deleting suspicious emails — so seniors stay safe while online.
- Deliver groceries or a meal: Grocery stores can be overwhelming and crowded and, unfortunately, not always safe, especially for seniors. Offer to pick up groceries for an older friend or relative the next time you make a trip to the store. Free apps such as InstaCart or Hello Fresh are also a great way to help older adults get their groceries without stepping into the store. Help them set up a convenient and affordable grocery delivery system that works for their schedule.
- Help them stay active: Exercise is an essential component of living a healthier lifestyle. Encouraging seniors to participate in low impact exercises like walking, yoga or water aerobics can be beneficial to both their minds and bodies.
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