When we advocate for certain members of the population, we fight for and help uplift their lives because they are somehow close to our hearts. Some advocate for members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Others advocate for immigrants or other under-served communities. Still, others choose to help people with certain illnesses or disabilities.
Another population that needs our support is senior citizens. Certainly, not all elderly people need round-the-clock assistance. Not all of them are as helpless. In fact, a number of them continue to be in positions of power. There are many, however, who may need our help.
In other countries, most seniors and older adults live with extended family members, like their children and grandchildren. Not so in the United States and other wealthier nations, wherein most older people live alone or as a couple.
Even if they can look after themselves, senior citizens would all benefit from the support of the rest of the population. Whether it be actually caring for their needs or providing them with opportunities, there are things that we can do to help our seniors.
Learn from their experience
This may not be possible in all workplaces, but if it is, welcome senior workers into your office. There is much that we younger people can learn from the wisdom of age. What senior citizens may lack in technological know-how, they make up for in insight and life experience.
It’s illegal to discriminate against workers based on their age, and it’s also unfair. There are senior workers who a little more stubborn, but there are also those who are still very much willing to learn.
The basis for hiring or keeping a worker should be about skill, not age, so make an effort to fight ageism. Make it known that you welcome employees of every age. Making your workplace more inclusive and welcoming to seniors might prove to be very enriching for your team.
Senior citizens are just like you. They have passions and interests, some of which might be similar to yours.
If you’re part of an interest-based group, reach out to the seniors in your area. Maybe you’re trying to form a band. Why not welcome the elderly into your group. Maybe you picked up gardening during the pandemic. Form a gardening club and invite your senior neighbors to join. For many of these activities, youth isn’t a requirement, but lifelong passions and well-honed skills might be. And seniors have lots of those.
Seniors also need to stay active, just like you. From tai chi to dance classes, there are physical activities that you can take part in with senior citizens. You could also organize board game nights or movie nights with the seniors in your neighborhood to make them feel part of the community.
If you find it difficult to organize events, you could look for an existing senior citizen club or organization nearby. They most likely already organize events for their members, and you could volunteer to help out. Your new best friend might be waiting for you in one of these centers.
Show them that you care
One of the most important things you can do for senior citizens is to show them that you see them, respect them, and care for them. The last thing that they want to feel is forgotten.
Sometimes, it’s in the simple, everyday encounters that you can make them feel seen. If you bump into your kindly old neighbor in the supermarket, stop for a quick chat and check in on how they’re doing. Maybe you could even offer to do quick grocery runs for them. Help them cross the street or ride the bus. Let them go ahead in line. Give them the courtesy and respect that they deserve.
You could also take this care to the next level and actually make it your life’s work. Perhaps you could choose to pursue studies or research in senior care. Maybe you could open a home care franchise for seniors. You could also think of creating a business that provides services geared towards elderly customers.
Fight the epidemic of loneliness
One of the biggest struggles for seniors is loneliness. This has been extra difficult during the pandemic, given that travel was restricted and face-to-face interactions were limited.
As the world begins to open up, one of the first people we should probably reach out to is seniors because maybe the most important thing we can offer them is our presence.