As a caregiver it is important that you acknowledge not just the physical needs of your aging loved one, but also his emotional needs. Part of this is helping him to recognize the important days throughout the year and what they mean to him. For many seniors, holidays and days of significance gain even more importance in late adulthood. Acknowledging these days and helping your aging loved one to recognize them in a meaningful way will be valuable to his emotional health.
While many people immediately think of recognize holidays such as Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving as the important days throughout the year that seniors need support and acknowledgment, there are actually several other days that may be even more importance, yet are easily forgotten. For many seniors, birthdays often slip by without acknowledgments. It is not necessarily their own birthday that they care about, but these seniors may feel left out of the celebrations of family birthdays or the birthdays of family members that have passed. Inviting an aging loved one to a birthday celebration is an important way of keeping him connected to the family and creating valuable family memories. Likewise, taking the time to acknowledge the birthday of a family member that has passed will help to validate the memories and emotions of your aging loved one related to that person and keep the memory alive.
Another important day that home care providers can help seniors acknowledge is anniversaries. While young couples often have elaborate celebrations for their anniversaries, senior couples may not have the means or the mobility to enjoy such a celebration. Consider planning something small but joyful for your aging loved ones to acknowledge their time together and honor their love. If your aging loved one is mourning the loss of his partner on his anniversary, help him to memorialize his partner in a meaningful way such as visiting the cemetery or a special place that they shared together.
Making sure that important days throughout the year do not go unacknowledged is a valuable way to keep your aging loved one feeling important and heard. These acknowledgments do not have to be elaborate; simply recognition of the importance of the day and time to talk about the meaning of this day to give your aging loved one the opportunity to enjoy making memories and reminiscing on old ones.