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10 Tips to Connect with Older Adults:

  1. Create a Social Calendar: Family members, friends, and neighbors who can call, visit, share a meal, or go out regularly with their loved ones should have a shared calendar to ensure the visits are spread out. 

  2. Ask open-ended questions: Open-ended questions help break the ice and start the conversation. For instance, instead of asking, 'Did you have a good day?', you could ask, 'What was the best part of your day today? '. This encourages your older adult to share more about their experiences and feelings. 

  3. Give your full attention: Focus on one topic at a time, and let your friend speak without interrupting.

  4. Provide physical affection: Remember, everyone needs physical affection, seniors especially. Your touch, whether a hug or a gentle massage, can be a powerful way to show your loved one that you're there for them, even when words fail.

  5. Share activities together that you both enjoy: By creating a list of activities, hobbies, outings, games, and topics of interest, you're not just finding something to do with others; you're creating opportunities for shared joy and connection.

  6. Bring photos: Show your older adult recent photos of you and other family members, especially ones they rarely see. You can also bring photos and scrapbooks to help them remember special memories.

  7. Take time to reminisce: Sharing memories can bring you closer together and make your older adult look back fondly on happy moments in their life.

  8. Try something new: You don’t have to stick with things you used to do in the past, either. You could start new traditions such as walking, having ice cream together, watching the birds, or sitting and enjoying each other’s company. It's best to start with small, familiar steps and gradually introduce new elements when introducing new activities. This can help make the experience more enjoyable and less overwhelming for your older adult.

  9. Bring messages from friends and family: If other friends or family members can't visit in person, bring letters or video messages from them.

  10. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or them: Remember, patience is key. Sometimes, things don’t go according to plan, and that’s okay. We all have bad days, and there will be days when they may not remember who you are or show more feelings of anger or fear. In those moments, your understanding and compassion are what truly matter.

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