Many a times I have observed even in my home, elders lead a quiet life, tucked away from the world outside of their room. Families are hesitant to involve them or call them out each time, sometimes on purpose or because they are not sure if grandma wants to engage.

It is important to realise that, one of the key contributors of  quality of life for an elder is the need to feel involved, feeling a sense of purpose in the household. It is not that they want to participate actively in everything that is going on, but contrary to what may be projected, they are not indifferent towards what’s going on- infact they would love the feeling that they are being updated about key events or decisions. Making them feel involved by inviting them to participate in small activities such as unpacking a home delivery parcel and seeing it together; introducing them to visitors who come home can make a huge difference to their self esteem. 

Another key communication piece is asking for their opinion (even if you have already taken the decision). Just the gesture that it still matters to you what they think would mean a lot to an elder. When it comes to complex problems, converse in a manner which is simple for them to understand, process and respond effectively so the purpose of doing so is not lost.

Making sure that the grandparents are part of all family meals together at a table, is a very important part of communicating with them, making them feel part of the family everyday. Some elders do need that reassurance esp when we continue to lead busy lifestyles. Communicating with elders does not necessarily mean sitting with them separately for a long time, but small gestures that make them feel being a part of the household; make them feel that they are involved and that their opinion is heard goes a long way in their well being.
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