Help the elderly

Andrew Ronald

Andrew Ronald
Written by: Andrew Ronald

2 May, 2022

It’s hard watching our parents or grandparents getting older. The people who looked after us so well, eventually needing help themselves. We want the very best for them, to help them, and enjoy every moment we can with them.

Thanks to many factors, including advances in health, food and education, our elder family members are living longer. But how many of these years will be the fulfilling, healthy years that we wish for them?

To live a long and healthy life, their physical, emotional and mental health needs must be met. And it’s far from easy. A report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) claims that 20% of adults over 60 years old develop mental health problems due to a lack of social and emotional support. Without a healthy, stimulated mind, the body can suffer too.

So how can we help the elderly in our families live long, healthy and enjoyable lives? Let’s explore the challenges and solutions.

Help the elderly in your family

Photo by Christian Bowen on Unsplash

Challenges of Modern Retirement

The baby boomer generation is currently enjoying an independent and active lifestyle. As they grow older 80-90% of retirees choose to remain in their homes rather than move into care. Some perhaps even lucky enough to have been able to move home to make their later years easier and more pleasurable. 

Enjoying their freedom while they can, but often missing regular contact with their family. All those hectic years fully involved with their family and engaged in a busy work life, replaced with an eerie calm and hours to fill. Where did everyone go? They grew up. Moved away and created their own lives. 

Historically this was not the norm. Families of multiple generations lived together their whole lives. Having children was a way to ensure someone would be there to help you in old age. Today we go where the opportunities are. Perhaps for work or a relationship. Perhaps to a town nearby, or increasingly to a foreign country. We are fortunate to have so many choices. But this presents a very real challenge – how can we help the elderly in our family when we live apart?

Embrace Technology

To live apart from your family even as little as 20 years ago, would have made it hard to maintain strong family connections. Expensive telephone calls and handwritten letters were the main options. But today, thanks to the availability of computers, smart devices and the internet, we have everything we need to connect seamlessly regardless of location.  

The adoption of such technologies is surging, especially due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Seven out of ten seniors own their own smartphone. The old belief that the elderly could not use such technology is outdated. Studies have even shown that some social networking platforms predominantly used by the young are now increasingly used by older adults.

Technology can never replace real-world interactions, but it can ensure everyone stays in touch between visits. 

Simirity is designed to strengthen family relationships using the power of technology. Connecting great-grandparents, grandparents, parents and children. Connecting family to future generations too. So although in-person visits might not be as often as you would like, your family will be stronger than ever. Let’s look at some practical ways Simirity can help you achieve this.

Tackling Loneliness

Many retired parents who are keen to enjoy their freedoms and live independently, still feel the need for companionship. Someone to share their lives with, and to be a part of others’ lives. This remains true even for those living with a spouse. Science shows that loneliness has the perhaps surprising ability to diminish memory, mental and physical health, and longevity. Things that no one wants for their loved ones, not the family elders or younger generations who may live an isolated lifestyle.

The solution to loneliness is simple, but not always easy. People must feel like a valued part of a community. That’s all. The elderly are particularly susceptible as ageing can be an isolating process as mobility reduces and people move away or pass on. Even simple gestures and shared moments can have an outsized impact on family members who feel lonely, elderly or otherwise.

Help the Elderly with Simirity


1. New stories: There is no better way to boost inclusiveness than by sharing a new story about what’s happening in your life today. Help the elderly by bringing them into your world, or perhaps your children’s world. Providing them meaningful entertainment. A subject to ponder over the course of the day. And offering a clear topic of conversation with which to engage family members.

2. Today’s stories: Each day, your whole family will be reminded of stories that happened on today’s date in past years. Stimulating new conversations as you relive past events. With stories and pictures where you were together being brought to the forefront of their mind, so they can gain comfort from those memories.

3. Comments: With just a few second’s investment, a comment on a story, photo or video might be all that’s needed for someone feeling lonely to feel remembered by their family. Of course you could send a comment by message app or SMS, but with Simirity you have your family’s stories as inspiration for your thoughts. Making it easy to find a conversation starter. Connecting on topics more personal and stimulating than the weather.

Engage the Minds of the Elderly

Like you, today’s seniors were used to leading productive lives. Their midlife was busy with their careers and family commitments. For some, it can be difficult adjusting to a new lifestyle with fewer demands on their time and skills. They need things to do, hobbies to partake in, and activities to engage their minds. They want to feel useful, even as their physical functions become more limited.

Help the Elderly with Simirity


1. Story Requests: Request your elders to create stories on topics you would enjoy, so they can be saved for prosperity. What don’t you know about their lives that they might enjoy sharing? What do they know about your extended family’s lives or your family history? What memories do they have of their childhood and your childhood? What places special to them would you like stories about so you can visit them one day and know what happened there? What historical moments have they experienced that could be shared with future generations, like man’s first landing on the moon? What skills or knowledge do they have that you would like to learn from? And how exactly can their trademark family dishes be made, so future generations can enjoy them too? Creating stories not only strengthens memory recall and story writing skills, but also helps the elderly cognitively, emotionally and socially, while boosting self-esteem.

Creating stories is easy even for people who find it hard to type or struggle with technology. Family members can co-author stories with people who need help, so they can focus on creating the story and skip the settings. And they can record their stories in audio or video to avoid typing completely. Perhaps capturing a live conversation rather than a staged one. Having added some photos they can even add audio narrations, bringing the pictures to life. Stories using these techniques can be made quickly and easily, and are more personal than typed stories.

2. Ask questions: Questioning is an underrated and underused skill in the modern world. Why do we avoid asking questions? By asking, we show we care, we learn from their answers and our relationships strengthen (especially from hard questions). 

Add comments to their stories and photos asking questions to dig deeper into the story. Where was that photo taken? How did you cope with that challenging situation? What were your best memories from back then? Or create a private story for them about a challenge you face, and ask them to share their thoughts on how best to proceed. And while you are at it, encourage your children to ask you questions – strengthening the habit of asking family for help rather than a search engine.

Please don’t delay! The chance to ask your questions is not endless – ask today and avoid the common regret of never knowing their answer. 

3. Propose challenges: Set them goals and use stories to track their progress. To learn the guitar and record their progress each week. To find some old family photos and digitise them in a story. To revisit past places and show how they now look. Be creative. Use challenges as one way to gently encourage the elderly into action.

Positive Memories

For elderly people leading a restricted lifestyle, due to mobility issues or living in care homes, reconnecting to positive memories can significantly improve their quality of life. Senior care experts recommend having ‘positive memory anchors’ in the living environment of the elderly, such as photos, trophies, post-cards and trinkets. They add a richness to the living environment and act as conversation starters. Simirity is the ultimate digital ‘memory anchor’. Just a click away on their smart device. Offering far more memories and media types than could be displayed physically in their room. And a way to start new conversations and make new positive memories.

Help the Elderly with Simirity


1. Profiles with visuals and voice: Visiting the profiles of loved ones, both living and those who passed on, is the best way to reconnect with old memories.  Family member profiles are the ultimate remembrance profile; nothing else is as life-like. As well as offering a way into all their stories, you have pages dedicated to all their photos, videos and audio recordings. So even the site impaired can sit back and listen to stories in their voice. In just two clicks, all this and more is available to usher in positive memories.

2. Story requests: Instead of reading stories, try creating stories to connect with positive memories. And family can help by sending story requests to family elders on topics they would enjoy. Stories that will put a smile on their face as they recall those times. And on your’s when it’s published.

3. Today: With a lifetime of memories captured in stories, and stories from their family, each day the ‘today’ page will greet elders with family stories that happened today in past years. An uplifting way to start the day. And crucially, offering something each day to look forward to.

4. Music: It is well documented that for people with dementia, music is medicine. Research shows how music can act as a therapy that enhances memory and mood. Music recognition is one of the last things to go as memory declines. Our brains simply don’t want to let go of music. Listening to favourite songs from younger years brings back the emotions and sense of self-identity associated with that period.

Make the most of this opportunity by exploring the music from your family’s past. Encourage or help the elders in your family to create stories for different periods or events in their life, with embedded music videos from Youtube or playlists from Spotify. Make music a standard part of your family’s stories. Not just your elders’ stories, but your stories too. Giving you a library of positive memories to tap into in your old age.

Help the Elderly Overview

We know through our own experiences how hard it is to be separated from family elders. But armed with Simirity, you have a great way to help the elderly in your family in between those all-important visits. A tool to keep the conversations flowing and strengthen relationships even when you are apart. A tool that embeds elders deep within the family community so they don’t feel lonely. A tool that engages their mind for health and longevity. And a tool that ensures positive family memories and news are delivered each day.

Categories:  Family,  All Posts

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