The best time of the year has come. Seniors here in Oklahoma City and across the nation looked forward to all the festivities, seeing family, good food and little gifts that remind them they are loved. And now it’s time to transition into a new year. If you have a loved one in an assisted living or nursing home, you likely rest assured they are taken care of, have nutritious meals served to them and socialize with their friends. But family will always have a huge place in their hearts, and cannot be replaced. They want to stay connected with their children and grandchildren and those who are dear to them. As we start a new year, it’s important to remind them that even though the holidays and family gatherings are over, you’ll still be there for them. It’s time to help them discover a new year and set some goals for 2023! Stop by for coffee or tea and talk it all over.
Before visiting your loved one and developing some goals together, talk to your senior’s care providers, therapists and doctors to find out how you can best help your loved one in their specific needs. It’s a good idea to understand the goals of their providers as well as your loved one’s immediate needs.
Health is often at the top of the list for a new year’s goal. Many seniors are involved in some sort of rehab or Memory Care program for those dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Getting on the same page with care providers is important so you can all be working towards the same results. If Grandpa is recovering from a stroke, for example, you could help him practice his daily exercises and activities and decide on a rewarding goal together – such as being able to go on a special outing together. It’s important to set realistic goals with your loved one so discuss this with your senior’s doctor first. Your loved one may even have a goal in mind they would like to work towards. Your involvement in their progress and life will mean the world to them and may give them that extra motivation they need each day. Being involved in this way can be so rewarding for family members
Participation. If your senior is fortunate enough to live in an assisted living home or senior community, they likely have many opportunities to socialize with friends and participate in a variety of activities and social events. You can help your senior participate in these great opportunities! Each month, get a copy of the community schedule and encourage your loved one to attend as many daily activities as possible. Help get them excited and looking forward to what’s coming up this month. You can find out if it’s possible for you to attend some of the planned activities with them. For example, if there is a special dinner or Valentine’s event on the schedule, you may be able to join in on the fun and meet some of their friends. After all, seniors are proud of their family! Be sure to check with the hospitality desk first and make sure you’ll be able to participate with your loved one. With flu season in full swing, there may be limitations or guidelines in place to keep everyone healthy and safe. Keeping your senior interested and involved in their community is a great goal for 2023!
Special interest goals. Last but not least, helping your senior identify and cultivate a special interest or hobby can be very rewarding for them. This type of goal can help keep them motivated this year. It could be something they enjoyed doing in the past or something new they want to try. Look for something they could enjoy year around such as writing, crocheting or indoor gardening. You could also help them develop a list of books they’d like to read this year. With technology such as the Kindle to provide background lighting or even audio book apps, seniors can enjoy reading with more ease despite vision difficulties. Check to see what resources your loved one’s senior community provides as well. There may be libraries or clubs they could join. Help your senior set some fun goals to stay inspired this year!
Keeping goals simple but constructive will give your senior something to look forward to this year. And they’ll know you care! Be their cheerleader as you embrace the new year together and accomplish new goals!