Love is an essential ingredient in all our lives. It’s what we thrive on, depend on, and live for. What melts your heart, might not melt mine because all of us have our own love language. We show our love in so many different ways. For those of you who are caregivers, you demonstrate your love through all the caring acts you do for your loved one. But do they hear you? Do they feel the love?
I hope to share with you different ways to show how much you care for your loved one:
Remembering is a wonderful way to show your love. Whether you get out the family photo album with your elder and reminisce about all they’ve done for you or just talk about those special times that hold a warm place in your heart. These are gifts that you can give every day. It’s a way of reminding yourself and your loved one, all they have been to you. It will boost their ego and remind them of their importance in life. It will tell them, that you know who they really are.
If you are caring for a father or grandfather, food may be the way to his heart and speak his love language. The meals you fix can transcend simple words if you choose that special dish that he has always loved. Sit down and enjoy the meal with him. Keep the conversation on pleasant things and topics he enjoys. For your mother or grandmother, fix a dish that she was famous for. Don’t forget desert. Our sweet buds remain the most vibrant the longest, so a special cake or cookies may be just the ticket to your mother’s heart.
Sometimes the sweetest words cannot compare to a loving touch. Do you take time to give your loved one a hug or kiss each day? Who doesn’t remember their mother’s hand placed gently on their brow while they were sick? Just as we all need food and shelter, we all need to feel our loved ones’ touch. Take the time to get out the hand cream and massage your parent’s hands, arms, or feet. It can’t help but make them feel special.
4. Flowers, Music and Beautiful Things
It is in the eye, and ear, of the beholder. Music can lift your spirits and change your mood from light to dark. What music does your loved one like to hear? An hour of music can be something for them to look forward to, each and every day.
For some of us, flowers can say it all. The beauty of a single rose or a bright bouquet of sunflowers can bring joy to many seniors’ hearts. Even a small house plant can be lasting reminder of your love and of pleasant times spent in the garden. Or perhaps your loved one loves good art? There are wonderful, large picture books that showcase the great works of art.
5. Kind Words and a Listening Ear
Sometimes the best medicine we could ever take is a kind word from someone we love. Do you remember to say, “I love you”? Those three little words can sometimes make all the difference in the world to an older loved one. Our parents’ generation equates their self-worth with what they can do. As they get older and can do less, it is up to us to remind them that they are still of great worth to us. When we slow down and give them time to talk to us, it also tells them that they are cherished. A good listener doesn’t have to fix a problem or “straighten out” another’s thinking. They just have to be there and really listen.
Your time is the truest way to say “I love you.” Whether you realize it or not, the care you give and the time you share with your loved one says it all. Phone calls and visits, mean a great deal to elders. It says you care enough to take the time for them.
What is your love language? What do you want your children to know about you that speaks to your heart?
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About The Author: Karen Everett Watson is a Gerontologist and has over 10 years experience as a Journalist. Karen has spent 4 years in the senior community interviewing retirement community residents.
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