Friday, July 2, 2010


According to Rita Altman, R.N., National Director of Memory Care Services for Sunrise Senior Living, all of us can systematically render help to our "seniors" at home to take charge of their sense of control and empowerment - a purpose to their lives for which doing all the things that keep their brains active become natural parts of their days again.

Many experts are calling it "productive aging."

She recommends these eight steps to "productive aging":

Step 1: Reminisce with them about the things they once did but no longer seem interested in doing. This conversation helps them recall how much passion they used to have.

Step 2: Ask them to tell you about one hobby or activity that they really miss doing. One example might be gardening.

Step 3: Don't give up when they say they refuse to consider one. In many cases, you may need to involve yourself more by asking them for their advice and offer to help them reengage themselves. In the context of gardening, you may want to ask them for help in starting a garden for yourself.

Step 4: Be persistent in your encouragement. Be a motivating force, but not a commanding one. You want them to feel empowered. For your garden, ask them for strategic advice, not for them simply to be your "helper."

Step 5: Engage in the activity or hobby with them. If you are unable to participate, enlist the assistance of another family member, friend or neighbor.

Step 6: Show your support and pride through ongoing dialogue. Tell them how you've been bragging to friends and family about their success. Show them pictures of the garden, bring them some of the harvest and invite them to share with others around them.

Step 7: Schedule special occasions or events where they can come together with you and other loved ones to showcase and celebrate their achievements. Host a harvest party for your garden and make them a co-host.

Step 8: If a particular activity isn't working out, don't be afraid to start over with a new one or suggest an additional one to pursue simultaneously. A good companion to gardening could be cooking.

[Source: The Huffington Post]

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