Older people need to belong and have a purpose to stay active and well

by Dr. Robbie Lloyd

COVID has reminded us all of the importance of family and friends. When we can’t get together we miss our loved ones. Whereas before-COVID we may have sometimes wished we could get away from each other!

Right now, the return of lockdowns across the country gives us time to reflect on how well we may have been relating to our older family members and neighbours. Did we check in regularly with those around us? Did we share meals or shopping trips in safe ways?

The answers may be complex, but the simple message arising from today’s stresses is that older people need to be part of active community life to have the best possible quality of life outcomes for themselves and their own families.

Having roles and responsibilities is good for us all. And elders have plenty of work to do, if their youngers bother to ask them to do it.

Don’t mollycoddle and “over care.” Check out what your elders might LIKE to do to help, whether it’s for the family, or the parish, or the school. 

Having a role gives us all meaning and purpose. That stimulates feelings of worth, that are the strongest factors in mental health and wellbeing.

While COVID still has us all in its grip, ring up and chat with your elders to see how they’re going right now, and to ask them what they might like to be part of when COVID is less in charge. You might be surprised how much they have been wanting someone to ask them to help more.