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6 tips for connecting with older relatives


For many people, the last time they really sat down for a long chat with Grandpa and Grandma was when they had to do a report on WWII using first-hand accounts, and while we can shoot the breeze with Facebook friends we haven’t seen since grade school with ease, sitting down with the people who have been there for us from the very beginning isn’t as easy.

The thing is, we don’t always get a second chance, and if we really want to hear the stories only they can tell, Rhoda Meador, director of the Ithaca College Gerontology Institute has six tips to grease the wheels of communication between the generations and make it a more memorable holiday for the whole family.

1. Make togetherness a priority. Intergenerational connections won’t “just happen” on their own, so set aside specific times to be with friends and family members.

Scheduling will help make connecting with loved ones a priority.

2. Be sensitive to the special needs of older family members. Older people may have visual or hearing impairments, mobility challenges, chronic health conditions and memory loss that might limit participation in some activities. To help integrate these family members into activities:

• Tone down or eliminate background music to make it easier for people with hearing aids to understand conversations.

• Arrange furniture so the space is accessible for loved ones using a cane or walker.

• Help children understand the health challenges facing older family members by preparing children ahead of time. For example, “Grandpa will be really excited to hear about your baseball team, but he can’t hear unless you sit close to him.”

Full story at Newswise.

Sitting down with seniors.

Photo credit: Fotolia

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