If a loved one is approaching retirement age or has already passed that date, they might be experiencing changes in their life that affect how they perceive themselves. After completing their career, they need to find other ways to fill their time, but they also have to deal with fewer people asking for their help. Although this might sound relaxing, it can also be very isolating and difficult to deal with. Here are five ways to help your aging loved one feel useful.
Include Them in Your Creative Projects and Hobbies
Hobbies such as painting or DIY arts and crafts projects help pass the time, and they can also be an excellent way for you to bond with your aging loved one. Simple gestures like asking for their opinion on your work or giving them easy tasks to manage for the project will reinvigorate their creative drive. Also, if they’re working on a painting of their own, complimenting them on their abilities can boost their self-esteem.
Avoid Making Them Do Things Outside Their Comfort Zone
When your loved one takes on a creative project, make sure it’s something they can handle. Activities such as sculpture-making or building anything large might be too overwhelming for your aging loved one. If you choose a task that’s too difficult, the plan could backfire, and they might feel worse if their own abilities disappoint them.
Ask Them for Their Advice on Things
The next time there’s an important decision in your life, reach out to your aging loved one and seek their advice to make them feel that their opinion is valuable. Including them in any decision-making process can help give them a sense of purpose. There might be challenging situations in everyday life that lower their confidence, but asking for their advice reminds them that people still depend on them.
Let Them Make Their Own Decisions on What Matters to Them
Giving your loved one the freedom to make their own decisions on things that impact them, such as clothing, liberates them and strengthens their sense of independence. For example, if your loved one wants to buy walking canes in Australia, let them do what they want with their own money.
Offer More Praise Than Criticism
When someone makes a mistake, it’s easy to criticize them so they don’t repeat it. However, criticism can damage your loved one’s self-esteem, especially if the error was an accident. Instead of criticizing, try to look on the bright side and praise them for the things they succeed at doing.
Overall, aging has its ups and downs for anyone, but it doesn’t have to be too bad. Now that you know five ways to help your aging loved one feel useful, you can spend more time enjoying their company and less time talking them out of distress.