10 things you can do when visiting an elder


10~Check your judgment at the door and be open to what happens.


9~Provide direction but follow their lead .


8~Listen. Acknowledge. Show compassion, avoid sympathy.


7~Ask if they remember certain rhymes/jokes/songs/stories/etc and let their answer be ok.


6~Hold hands, look directly in eyes, be fully present.


5~Go for a walk.


4~Relax. Be at peace with the time you’re taking to be there. Get something out of it for yourself. This is a great gift when others see you are benefitting from being in their presence. Find a way to make this so.


3~Share a book, a magazine, an encyclopedia, a flyer, anything that can be read, shared and discussed/enjoyed.


2~Bring photo albums or photo books to peruse and talk about.


1~BE. You don’t have to say anything, do anything, act a certain way. Your presence alone can be a great comfort. Eliminate any pressure to perform and just be.

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4 Responses to 10 things you can do when visiting an elder

  1. Kaye says:

    Excellent list for visitors. This would be excellent to share with teens, young adults, and other relatives who want to visit and aren’t sure what to do or say. Great resource :)

  2. What I think is most important while meeting with elders – ability to listen. Listen to all their stories. Listen to all their advices. They need to express their opinions and this way they feel needed. Sometimes it is very exhausting to listen. But it is part of communication.

  3. Ava says:

    I’m posting this to my website and facebook!

  4. Natalie says:

    @Julia Anna Alison

    Listening is so crucial, #8 could be that, alone. (and #’s 11, 12, 13, etc.!)

    And yes, listening can be exhausting. One of the greatest tips I’ve ever received when it comes to communicating is “observe, don’t absorb”. It’s the absorbing that drains our energy. Observing is curiosity, which can be replenishing. Takes some practice and conscious attention, but is worth the effort in the long run for all involved!

    Thanks for your insights!

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