Showing Love to a an Older Adult
by LaBrena Friend, LBSW
On our calendars, we just checked off Valentine’s Day – a day when the whole world seems focused on expressions of romantic love. But how do we show love to the older adults in our lives – the parents, grandparents, neighbors and friends who have meant so much in our lives, and whose own worlds may now be growing smaller?
For me, that question came front and center a few years ago when my grandmother was diagnosed with dementia. This was a difficult time for my family. But I knew that, above all, what I wanted my grandmother to feel was how loved she was. Since then, I have been spending more time with her – as much as I can. We talk, and I listen to her tell stories about her life. We hug a lot, and I always give her a kiss. We take pictures on my phone and look at them together. I can see that these simple moments bring my grandmother joy, and this is a comfort to me.
At the same time, I realized that my father’s three sisters – the aunts who have loved and cared for me all my life – are also getting older. So, I have set up a schedule for my “auntie time.” I phone each of them once a month, and we catch up. I ask how things are going in their lives, and I share my own news. They know I’m busy with my work and my own home life, and they can feel that I want to share this time with them because I appreciate them. Like my grandmother, they can feel my love.
If you’d like to find simple ways to express your love to an older adult, here are a few ideas:
CJFS supports older adults and their families as they navigate the journey of aging. Customized services include, but are not limited to, care management, emotional support, transportation and escorted medical visits. To learn more, call 205.879.3438.