Having elderly relatives, it can be kind of hard to see them as they are, rather than as the people who always seemed so active and ready to spoil you with treats and special days out when you were a kid. It can be hard to notice that as you have aged twenty or thirty years, so have they, and rather than sprightly middle aged people they are now seniors who struggle with things. It is important to sometimes take the time to think about this and remember that now, they probably need you and value having you around more than you realize, and that you can actually do quite a lot to make their lives better. Also, there is plenty that spending more time with them can do to enrich your own life and understanding of the world.
Here are some reasons to spend more time visiting or at least calling your grandparents (also applies to great aunts and uncles and anyone else in your life who is getting old!):
Young Company Keeps Them Feeling Young
Whether you grandparent is one of those cool seniors who likes the internet and watches Keeping Up With the Kardashians (though not ironically) and likes to think they are down with the kids, or the more classic ‘get off of my lawn’ style grandparent who thinks kids these days need to stop looking at their phones and learn some manners, spending time with younger people does usually make them happy. Whether it’s because it gives them a link to the younger generation and makes them feel more relevant, or gives them a reason to feel superior, it doesn’t matter – elderly people often say that in their heads they feel no different than they did at 20, and that there is nothing worse than being surrounded by ‘old people’.
Walking the Walk When it Comes to Retro Fashion
Anything retro is all the rage these days, and if you love vintage clothes and style (and we’re not talking about the nineties here, you only need someone in their 30’s to talk to about that), talking to people who were actually young in those periods should be really interesting to you! While you may think 1950’s fashion is awesome or love the 60’s mod look, do you really know what you are doing or are you just being a bit pretentious? Why not actually talk to the people close to you who were around in different fashion periods instead of using Mad Men or kitschy pin-up pictures on Pinterest as your only point of reference?
Keeping Them Safe
While your relative may have a professional healthcare provider taking care of them, or other family members filling that role, the best families all pull together to look after their elders and keep them safe. Even if you can’t get to them very quickly, having your number on their speed dial to help them in an emergency can mean you can take charge of organizing for someone to get there if they hurt themselves or are afraid and confused. Just putting a little thought into a plan for what to do to help if anything happens to them can help you become a competent person they can rely on, which will make them feel safer and make the rest of your family a lot less worried.
They Can Still Be Pretty Good Fun
Unless they have severe dementia or Alzheimer’s (in which case they are probably in residential care – but you should still visit!), your grandparent is still the same person they have always been, just with a bit less energy and perhaps some health problems. Their sense of humor won’t have changed, nor will the things they love most, and if you can bring out the best in them by cheering them up with a visit, you can often find that rather than being a chore it is actually pretty fun to share a laugh or some family gossip. They can also be pretty good for advice too – ‘old’ and ‘wise’ usually go together for a reason, and while you may have to update their relationship tips a little in your mind to make them fit the Tinder age, there’s no harm in throwing your dilemmas at them to see what their ideas are!
Of course, the most important reason of all to visit is that your grandparents simply won’t be around forever, and you don’t want any regrets once they are gone.