At this time of year, I often think of all the resources we burn through as we jet through our busy modern lives. Consumption of just about everything ramps up during the holiday season, and more so with each generation, but as we learn increasingly about our impact on the planet and how precious these resources truly are, perhaps it’s time to hark back to the era of our elders. Previous generations had a much more balanced and careful approach to what they had; they were green out of necessity! Evidence suggests that while they used far less they were actually happier than we are today within our have-it-now lifestyle bubbles. When did we lose the plot? Let’s look at some of the ways our senior…

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In the run-up to the holidays, I always seem to be inclined to have a good clear out and de-clutter. I suppose it’s mostly in anticipation of the visitors that come with the season and wanting to make the house presentable, but I think it’s also in part a gesture of preparation for the inevitable influx of stuff that comes at this time of year. The act of giving and receiving is always a heartwarming experience, but it comes with a certain level of anxiety at times, especially when buying for older relatives. Will we choose something to their tastes? The last thing anyone wants is to give a loved one a gift they won’t enjoy. My parents have always been tricky to buy for; they…

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It can be difficult to witness the signs of ageing in our parents and it can seem very intimidating to talk about it. Those who took care of us when we were young now begin to need support and we wonder how this transition will progress. With a little forethought and preparation we can make this transition much easier to manage.   Prepare for the Conversation Your first port of call in your supporting role is to research what options are available. The better informed you are, the more easily you can present options as your discussion about care evolves. Consider what services are available in your area, from simple help with chores via daily visits, through to full time at-home care options and residential care…

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I recently came across an article with the title “The More Time You Spend With Your Mum, the Longer She’ll Live”. The article was based on a recent study which concluded that loneliness is a significant factor in the decline of quality of life in older adults. The article pointed out that we should make an effort to spend time with our parents, (not just our mothers), because many seniors are at serious risk of developing health problems simply because they are lonely. These conditions include the risk of depression, cognitive impairment and health problems like coronary artery disease, all of which can lead to premature death. This article certainly got me thinking. What about those older folk (both men and women) who have no loving…

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Despite the fact that people are living much longer and healthier lives in the 21st Century, there seems to a huge rise in the number of elderly who are living their final years feeling lonely, undervalued and often estranged from their family. Although we have ever increasing ways of communicating with each other, several generations of one family spending regular and quality time together seems to be an unusual occurrence – a sad casualty of the modern world. Yet there are very strong and compelling reasons why it is essential that we try and melt that gap and begin to actively seek out intergenerational contact; for the sake of ours, our seniors and our children’s wellbeing. Here are a few simple reasons why keeping a close…

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Most of us will require some level of help in later life as we age and become less sprightly. Fortunately, many of us can rely on our children for both companionship and, increasingly, for physical help, as we age. We hopefully have the comfort of knowing that we have close blood relatives to lean on in our hour of need. But what happens to those seniors who have no children to rely on? There are ever-increasing numbers of older adults who never had children, either through choice or circumstance.   They may be married, widowed or single but often they are much more fiercely independent than their counterparts with children. This could simply be because they have lived alone, or as just a couple, for all of…

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Human beings seem to be far more inclined towards amassing possessions these days! Even those who sway towards minimalism have far more possessions than their ancestors. Obviously, there are more varieties of things available to covet and collect in the 21st century than there would have been for those who came before us. Whilst having too many kitchen appliances or evening gowns is entirely a personal preference, collecting or hoarding can become a problem, particularly for the elderly. As we age many of us have a tendency to cling onto items which hold fond memories even when those items are well past their functioning life, and it can be very hard for your loved one to agree to let go. If you feel that you may…

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As a family, we play an awful lot of games at our gatherings, whether it’s a quick quiz, a game of rummy or a long and drawn out evening of Monopoly. These evenings are often loud and rambunctious because we are all very competitive and noisy people. We each have a huge variety of games in our individual homes and I can even boast that we own a personalised Monopoly game kindly gifted by my well-travelled son. Now, I don’t know if my family are particularly normal with their obsession for shouting out answers or gesticulating wildly because it’s not really something that comes up in conversation with outsiders.   All I know is, it’s something that we, as a family, do and I don’t imagine it’s…

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Mobile phones are viewed as an essential tool in the modern world. We use them for almost everything from taking photographs through to keeping ourselves abreast of current events and catching up with friends and family on social media. I even use mine as a spirit level on occasion! For older people, they can be a vital line of communication; a way of staying in touch with family and friends on a daily basis and as reassurance that they can reach help should it become necessary. Unfortunately, not everyone finds mobile phones easy to use. Your loved one could be from an older generation who are mistrustful of modern technology, they may feel nervous about learning the correct functions or simply find it hard to see…

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The modern world can be a very strange place to grow up in, with many children spending much of their free time watching life on a screen or growing up in a virtual world, talking on social media with people they don’t really know in the real world. Spending time talking to and playing with older adults can help to alleviate some of the more negative influences of technology and bring reality back into their lives whilst also giving them a sense of purpose. The benefits of Intergenerational relationships for the young Talking to adults can help the young to develop essential life skills: The ability to converse, listen and empathise – all important skills which will help during the journey to adulthood. To recognise mood…

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Life has changed dramatically over the past century, including within family groups and relationships. The traditional version of the close knit nuclear family is becoming a historical factor rather than a fact in the modern world. Clearly, life evolves over the years and traditional values can’t exactly be expected to remain the same forever. In fact, we can celebrate some obvious improvements in the accepted diversity within families, but unfortunately, there are some areas of family life that seem to have suffered immensely from some of the changes.   Intergenerational relationships are one area, in particular, that appear to have diminished during the past several decades. Seeing extended families living under the one roof or even in the same geographical area seems to be a relatively…

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Actually accepting that you might need help is a difficult thing for anyone to come to terms with and openly admitting it can be problematic in old age. Most of our elderly folk have managed a lifetime of independence leaving them feeling like they are giving in too easily when they start to feel that they are unable to manage alone. The responsibility of realising that our loved ones are not managing as well as they had previously usually falls to family members. So how would you recognise the signs that an ageing loved one may need more support than they are currently getting? There are a few key changes to watch out for in your elderly relatives: Sleeping for most of the day Difficulty keeping…

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Coping with your loved one when they are suffering from dementia is possibly one of the hardest things that anyone will ever go through. In all of its various guises it is a condition which affects the brain, is progressive and is likely to gradually change your loved one into a barely recognised facsimile of themselves. Some days will be good but others could be worse than bad with mood swings, personality changes and challenging behavioural problems. So how do you learn to cope with your loved one’s dementia? A few tips which may help you to deal with some of the changes: Learn as much about the disease as possible – You will be better prepared to deal with future challenges. Try to retain your…

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If you decided to care for your elderly parent(s), would it be a minefield, a minor inconvenience, or an opportunity to reconnect with the person or even persons who laid the foundations that made you into whoever you currently are? I’m guessing that for the majority of people, the prospect of caring for an aging and perhaps increasingly infirm parent, the truth lies somewhere between the former two; slightly less than a minefield but perhaps more than a minor inconvenience. After all if your parent(s) have reached an age where they need help to manage their everyday life then you have probably just arrived at a particular point in life yourself, when you feel you can indulge yourself a little. Maybe your grown-up kids have finally…

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In the run up to Christmas, a great deal of time, thought and effort goes into the traditional meals and treats we serve and the way we decorate our homes to celebrate the season. But traditions aside, one of the most important aspects of this season is the opportunity to be together as a family under the same roof. With people travelling further and further afield in the pursuit of work opportunities, education and wanderlust, Christmas is a more important time than ever for many families, some of whom may only come together to spend quality time with one another during the Christmas and New Year period. When meeting face to face so infrequently with aging family members, this can frequently mean that important discussions about…

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December can be a lonely month for many people, surrounded by Christmas carols, decorations and all of the other things that represent the season can trigger great sadness, and in some cases depression. Recalling wonderful memories of celebrating Christmas with family members and loved ones in the past can be painful. Putting religious beliefs aside, traditionally the most important aspect of the Christmas season for many is the opportunity to honour the tradition of gathering with family and friends to enjoy great food, great company and gifts with one another. The older we become, it makes sense that the more loved ones we will have lost. So when you give it some thought, it is very easy to appreciate just how lonely this time of year…

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When an elderly parent who lives alone appears to be struggling to cope as well as you would like, it can be quite a worrying time. Many elderly parents will go to great lengths to protect their independence and this means that they may not always communicate openly with you when you voice your concerns and may even become defensive at the mere suggestion that they may not be coping so well anymore. There are a number of early warning signs that could indicate that some kind of action needs to be taken in order to ensure that your elderly parent or loved ones safety and wellbeing is not compromised. The issues discussed in the areas listed below will give you a good indication of whether…

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A variety of items and gadgets can make life much easier for an elderly person who suffers with poor vision, hearing loss or a chronic health issue like arthritis. With that in mind, we have put together a list of useful items to give you a little inspiration in identifying a really useful or meaningful gift for your loved one. Cordless Headset A lovely friend of mine struggled for years with an issue unnecessarily when her husband’s hearing became so poor that he would watch the television with the volume on full blast! A family member suggested purchasing him a cordless headset so that he could listen at the volume he chose, without affecting the rest of the household and the success of this purchase meant…

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Following on from last week’s blog, we continue to explore the topic of understanding our elderly parents. Learning how to look at things from your parent’s point of view and making slight adaption’s to your behaviour can help to avoid a great deal of frustration and  work wonders in improving and strengthening your relationships. Revealing The Cause Of Resistance Whenever you are met with resistance, it helps if you can try to understand its underlying cause, because with this insight, not only will you find it easier to be patient, you may also be able to help your elderly parent to confront some of the issues that may be preventing them from moving forwards. Fear is an emotion that can be at the root of it…

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Isn’t it strange the way the coin can flip in certain relationships, like the one between children and their parents, sometimes resulting in a complete reversal of roles. Many adult children find themselves entirely baffled by the decisions their elderly parents make and frustrated by the way their parents stick their heels firmly in the ground and stubbornly refuse to follow their good advice… Does this remind you of anything at all? Until you walk in someone else’s shoes, it is very hard to grasp and understand what they are going through, but the points below will hopefully enable you to gain a greater insight and understanding of what your elderly parents may be experiencing in the later stages of their life. Developing your understanding of…

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