My mom and mother-in-law, both living in assisted living, routinely state that they don’t know why “they are still here.” There are myriad studies about depression in the senior community and then I saw a news blurb and the light bulb came on for me.
The usual functions at assisted and independent living communities are events such as happy hours, musical performances, theme dinners based on the holiday du jour, and the like. However, these really do not have much real meaning for the residents.
The residents have lead long and fruitful lives with responsibilities. They had a purpose in their lives. I have seen countless residents that are just existing and I believe that it is due to lack of purpose!
The news broadcast I saw connected seniors at an assisted living community with students in Korea, who wanted to perfect their English speaking skills. They were connected via the Internet. The broadcast tracked some of the bonds that were created between the parties and even featured one story where the student flew to the U.S. and visited the senior. Great bonds have been created but it was due to the senor creating a purpose to exist, and having the opportunity to share their knowledge or skills even though they were no longer working for a living.
Every resident has a hidden talent. Some knit…so create a situation where they donate their creations to the soldier’s wives that live on limited income, for their newborns. Some have musical background…so have them teach other residents. You get the picture. A purpose for living enhances their lives in their final years. It is so important for elders to have something to look forward to each day. I wish my parents to leave this world with a smile on their faces.