I’ve made New Years resolutions in the past, and last year I made some more “general” goals rather than specific things I wanted to do. Some worked well, some didn’t, as you’d expect! Financially, we saved more and were sensible with our spendings, but we didn’t work toward a specific amount as we’d planned to do – it’s not really us to do that, but we still managed to save anyway. This year, we’re hoping to set up a direct debit with a certain amount to save each month once we’re settled in our new house and used to the new mortgage amount we’ll be paying. Healthwise, it wasn’t a great year (again!), being diagnosed with IBS, but that’s under control now and hopefully won’t cause me too many problems. I think I did well “material-wise” in not buying too much, unless it was something I really needed/loved, and I did turn my style more into what I wanted it to be – classic and slightly retro, as well as getting rid of lots of clothes. And finally, I managed to learn to sew and keep up with the blog, as well as a few new ventures!
But I’ve heard of a good initiative I like this year: scrap your unachievable New Year resolutions and focus on what is important – your family.
I don’t know what the success rates for New Year resolutions are, but, purely based on my own attempts, I can make an educated guess that they’re high. We struggle to commit to the big things, so it makes sense to go for the small, achievable things first.
One of those achievable things is to spend more time with your family, particularly the elderly ones. Whether they’re your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, or even someone your own age, you’d be doing a huge service to your family by keeping your relationship strong.
Taking Care of Them
If the elderly family member in question is dependant on someone to care for them, make sure you do everything you can to help. You may not be able to care for them full time if you have a busy job, children, or other pressing commitments, but it helps to take a second to consider what you can commit to before anything else.
Luckily, there are now a few positive options when it comes to elderly care. The old stigma of retirement homes is coming to end. We now see more of retirement villages, where elderly communities are involved in projects, exercise and other activities to ensure they stay happy even when you’re not around. Perhaps best though, is the increasing availability of care at home. This can be a positive thing, not just if your elderly family member is more dependant than most, but also because they get to stay in their familiar surroundings.
The Oldest Misconception
Younger members of the family can easily fall into the trap of thinking that their older family are some sort of passive creatures, whom they can visit, update them with generalisations, remind them how old or tall you are, and all the other necessities we associate with elderly small talk.
After speaking about this conversation to both parties, I can confidently say that, while it isn’t bad, there’s a lot more you can get from each other. And I don’t mean pocket money.
Stop the Small Talk
If you feel that you fall into the above category, cease the small talk! While your nan may not be able to outrun you or choose the best Instagram filter for you Christmas snap, the laws of time dictate that they’ve done a lot more than you. Do you know what those things are? No? Find out! Your elderly relatives are the most knowledgable in your family, and talking to them about their life, not just yours, will strengthen your relationship and remind both of you that visits to see them don’t have to be filled with empty niceties.
According to Age UK, the UK is expecting to have over 20 million over 60s by 2030, so thinking about how we treat and interact with our elderly relatives is more important than ever.