When a loved one enters memory care, the poignant reality is that we can’t know how much time we have left with them while they’re still able to recognize us and reminisce about shared history. We should always celebrate the role our loved ones play in our lives, but this time of year serves as an extra reminder to show our loved ones what they mean to us. The holidays can be a stressful time of year for seniors who may be missing lost loved ones or struggling with limitations that prevent them from experiencing the holidays like they used to. A gesture of gratitude is a reminder that they are loved, cherished, and included in the festivities.
These are some of our favorite thoughtful ways to express gratitude to seniors in your life:
- Give them a spontaneous hug. We often give hugs in greeting or farewell, but a hug “just because” can really make someone feel special.
- Start a conversation with the phrase, “Remember when…” and reminisce about a meaningful memory the two of you shared. They will cherish the extra detail you’re able to contribute to the memory.
- Write them a note reminding them that they’re loved. Then mail it instead of delivering it by hand. Everyone loves receiving unexpected mail, and your message of love is sure to bring a smile to their face.
- Next time you reach for the phone to call them, opt to visit in person instead, if possible. It’s always nice to hear a familiar voice, but nothing beats face-to-face quality time.
- Surprise them with a random act of kindness. Even something small like bringing them a pastry from the coffee shop you stopped at on your way to visit lets them know you were thinking of them.
- Make a list of all the reasons why you’re grateful for them. Include personal qualities, thoughtful things they’ve done for you in the past, and joyous memories you have of their presence in your life.
- Take them on a special outing, to a favorite restaurant or to see a movie in theaters.
- Do some chores around their living quarters. Even if they have housekeeping service, the gesture of taking the time to ensure their space is extra neat and tidy shows how much you care.
- Say, “I love you.” It’s so simple, but so powerful. Most of us don’t say it enough.