10 Jul How to build the self worth of our elderly loved ones
When we visit our elderly loved ones, it is common for the topic of conversation to be around their health. This is of course important, but doesn’t leave anyone feeling in the most upbeat mood. This can easily be turned around with stories.
In order to build a positive sense of self-worth for your loved one, we find the best technique is to explore and learn about their life story. Knowing more about their life allows you to initiate more meaningful conversations and it is a nice distraction from the not so positive things that are happening.
Everyone has a story; a life of achievements, challenges and learnings. We are always amazed by what a few structured lead questions and follow-up prompts will trigger.
Our My Word Co-Founder, David, reflects on how stories helped him connect with his late Grandfather, Jack.
Jack loved fishing in a relaxed way by the beach or on a boat. When I was 14 he became very ill with terminal cancer. He was depressed, quiet and not much fun to be around. My mother suggested I go and visit him.
I dropped in and rather than sit at home, I asked him to take me fishing. The beach was just at the end of his street, so we walked down with two fishing rods, bait and a couple of small chairs. We sat there for a whole afternoon as he told old fishing stories, what he did as a teenager and his thoughts on what I should do as a young man. He told me to get a part time job because “If you have your own money no one can own you!”.
Over the following months he kept telling people that he had one of the best days of his life that afternoon with me. He passed away about four months later, but I felt we connected that day, and him sharing his story made him feel good.
Knowing, honouring and capturing a loved one’s story is not just a gift for future generations, but also a way to connect on a deeper level and build their own sense of self-worth, pride and dignity.
Next time you visit your elderly loved one, use the opportunity to learn and capture aspects of their life story, you never know what you might uncover and we are certain you will both feel much more upbeat once you have left.
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