In honor of National Senior Citizen Day on Thursday we thought we would post a friendly blog on ways to help senior citizens around you. Here are a few tips on how to reach out and interact with the elderly people in your community.
Show Respect- Always show respect for their greater breadth of life by avoiding using their first name unless they give you permission to call them so. Never avoid talking to older people in conversations, always acknowledge them in conversations, making sure to directly interact with them.
Reflect- People tend to fall in the trap of assuming that the word older is synonymous with outdated. This school of thought is problematic because it creates unhelpful generalizations. Every individual is unique in his or her own way. By making these assumptions it can prevent a personal connection and knowledge sharing. Always make sure to avoid pre-conceived notions and avoid ageism.
Lend-a-Hand- As we grow older, the human body changes and requires different attention. It is important that we take notice of elderly people around us and lend out a friendly helping hand when possible. If you are in public and notice an elderly person needs a seat, stand and offer your seat to them. Before entering and exiting a building always be aware of those around you and take extra time to help someone if they require it.
Speak Clearly- It is important to speak clearly and enunciate, if the person is hard of hearing be willing to speak louder. Always speak with confidence but avoid shouting at all costs. Never assume that all elderly people are hard of hearing, adjust your voice to each individual.
Interact- Older people are more prone to social isolation and loneliness. It is important to interact with elderly people and to take time to share with them. Try to volunteer at a community center, through an organization, or even with a neighbor/ individual you know. Taking the time out of your day to talk and interact with someone can make all of the difference in both of your lives.
For anyone in the Atlanta area, there is a wonderful group, Ageless Interaction, which promotes intergenerational friendships through different types of creative and innovative activities. This group promotes the accepting of aging and shows how this process should be welcomed and not feared.