Death is an inevitable part of life and, as we age, the prevalence of death around us increases.
If they are lucky, loving couples spend many decades together. In the end, however, one person will almost always die before the other, so it’s important for those who care for the surviving, bereaved individual to know how to deal with the pain and sadness they are feeling.
The elderly are often reluctant to go to therapy and talk about their feelings, though they will speak, quite openly, with their friends and family. Experts say that the recalling of old, fond memories helps in the grieving process. Sometimes, when speaking alone is not enough, activities can help to distract the elderly individual from his or her sadness.
The first thing to do is to identify activities that your grandparent might enjoy. Are they more physically or mentally oriented? Are they more outgoing or introverted? Once you have determined this, it’s easy to suggest and, perhaps, participate with them in some of these activities.
Here are some fun things to do, which may help in your grandparent’s healing.
Crossword Puzzles – Does your grandparent like words? Just about every newspaper has a crossword puzzle. At first, completing a puzzle may be hard, but keeping at it and completing even a moderately difficult puzzle will bring them a great sense of accomplishment.
Computer – While some seniors are either averse to or simply ignorant of what’s taking place online, others may find this excellent fun. If your grandparent has not been online, show them how to log on and point out some of the great resources available. How about sites, which feature games like solitaire or Scrabble? Genealogical destinations like Ancestry.com? Even historical sites where they can read about which battles Grandpa fought in during World War II or Grandma’s hometown in Italy all make for wonderful and edifying experiences.
Classes – Many universities offer extension courses that provide learning opportunities exclusively for the elderly. History, finance, even physical education courses can lead to a new avocation and possibly a new, productive life.
Writing – Encourage your grandparent to recall and write down their memories. This is another excellent way for them to recover from sadness and recall the happy days of yesteryear. If they find they enjoy writing, buy them a book that details how to write short stories or poetry.
Hobbies – Many seniors already have hobbies, though adding a few is a nice way to expand their horizons. For women, activities like knitting and jewelry crafting may add some fun and purpose. For men, golf and fishing may prove quite diverting.
Music – If your grandparent is musically inclined, find out which instrument he or she likes and give them one. You could be related to the next Jean-Pierre Rampal or Jascha Heifetz!
Water Exercises – There’s no better exercise for seniors than water aerobics. These are low-impact and will help to keep Grandma or Grandpa in shape.
Day Trips – Take your grandparent to a sporting event, a museum, a movie, a political rally, a theater stage play, or just some nice, quaint little town where they can relax and unwind.
Even when their spouse is gone, growing old does not have to mean the end of your grandparent’s happiness. Active seniors, through some of these activities, may even enjoy a new lease on life!
About the Author
Krisca Te works with Open Colleges, Australia’s leading provider of TAFE courses equivalent and provides Certificate III in Aged Care. When not working, you can find her on Google+ or spends the day with her baby boy.