grandmother and granddaughter

Ten Things People Want You to Know as They Age

As we get older, our needs and desires change.  We know what we want, our preferences, dislikes, what makes us feel comfortable, etc.  Do other people really know and understand what matters most to us?  Do caretakers and family members know the wishes of those closest to them?  What is it that most people want others to know as they age?

Kurt Kazanowski, a speaker and coach, is author of A Son’s Journey: Taking Care of Mom and Dad (http://asonsjourney.com/).   He has more than 30 years of experience in senior and hospice care. He says that what someone truly wants later in life can vary from person to person, but in general, there are many similarities he’s noticed from all the patients he has worked with.

Kurt’s top ten list of what people want you to know as they get older:

  1. We don’t want you to baby us: While it’s true that as we age many of us need some help with things like climbing steps or bending down to pick things up, our independence is very important to us. You don’t need to do every little thing for us.  We will ask for help when we need it.
  2. We want you to spend more time with us: We remember what it was like to be young, active and out exploring the world with friends, but we want you to come visit us frequently and spend time with us, too. We thrive on hearing about your adventures, successes and failures.  Whether we can get out for a short walk or meal, or simply sit and spend time with you, it’s all meaningful and appreciated.
  3. We thrive on memories: We love to recount the good old days. Looking back at old photos and sharing memories touches our hearts, invigorates our spirit and puts a smile on our face.  When you take the time to listen to our stories no matter how many times you’ve heard them before, it makes us feel good.
  4. Please respect our wishes: As we get older and perhaps have to face more medical challenges, please respect our wishes. We are always open to your thoughts and opinions, but it’s our life, our body and we want you to always respect our decision even if you disagree.
  5. We are not invisible: Occasionally, people act as if we’re not present. Just because our physical ability might be limited in some cases, many of us are as with it as we’ve ever been upstairs.  We are fully aware of what’s going on.  We hear what people say.  We have not lost our mental abilities.  Please include us in things and not separate us from what’s going on.
  6. We want nothing but happiness for you: As we get up there in years, we realize that happiness really is everything. Money, material possessions and having a high-ranking job are all superficial.  The only thing that matters in this life is being happy as much as you can.