Giving makes most people feel good, but it can be stressful too. Last year, a resident threw a fit because she couldn’t leave the facility to buy some greeting cards to mail to her friends and family. When she was finally offered some plain-looknig cards from the basement, she was upset that nobody was able to mail them for her. In outpatient settings, I’ve had elderly clients who felt overwhelmed because they didn’t know what to give their grandchildren, or didn’t have the money to buy anything for their kids.
As service providers, how do we maximize the benefits of gifting and reduce the frustration associated with it? As the holiday season draws near, consider what you can do to allow your residents, clients, or elderly family members/ friends feel that they are still able to give:
– Invite them to help design greeting cards or decorate the living space.
– Encourage them to sing or tell a joke at the holiday party.
– Ask them for their favorite recipe (and make use of it if you can).
– Help your homebound but cognitively intact family members get some nice greeting cards and stamps.
– Spend time to write holiday cards and/or wrap holiday gifts with them.
– Volunteer with them somewhere, perhaps at a child-friendly place where they can bring their grandchildren as well.
– Offer creative ideas related to holiday cards and gifts.
Growing up, my grandmother used to ask me to help her write a line or two on Christmas cards to relatives overseas every year. I knew it’s worth it when I saw that smile on her face when our mission was accomplished; and when years later I continued to receive a card from her every year that my parents now helped write.
Giving older adults the opportunity to give is a wonderful gift. What do you think? 🙂