Getting Back to the Heart of the Matter: 20 Ways to Share Time with an Older Adult

As a caregiver to an older adult, we sometimes get so caught up in the daily tasks of care that we forget the emotional ties that ties us to the individual themselves.  Many of us move quickly from task to task; and that is multiplied if we are caring for ourselves, our children, significant other and aging family members.

Rabbi Richard AddressWe connect with the senior only when we are hastily unpacking the latest bag of groceries for them, or dropping off the newest prescription.  We forget that the one thing we can offer our parents, our Aunt, or the special neighbor that is the “target” of our time and attention, is ourselves.  Not the harried self or the time crunch self, but the self who can share a story about their day, or their grandchild (or granddog).

If the time you are putting in to help the older adult in your life is only task specific, maybe it is time to re-evaluate your role.

Maybe there is someone else who can do the cleaning, the errands, or even the personal care, so that you can return to being the daughter, the niece, the spouse or the friend.

These services do not have to “bankrupt” you, and they may even be covered under a County or State program if income and asset guidelines are met.  Maybe the Synagogue has a volunteer program whose members can lend a hand.

To explore the options you can check with the Area Agency on Aging in your community or connect with a Geriatric Care Manager who can help to develop a plan of care that works for all involved. See resources at

Once you have freed up some time to enjoy your relationship with each other, it is time to develop a new list.

But this list is about ways to spend time together.  Below I have given you a place to start.  As the weather is warming up, now is a great time to begin your new routine and start to enjoy each other again.

20 Ways to Share Time

  1. Play a game of cards
  2. plant an indoor garden
  3. read a book together
  4. rent an old movie
  5. make cookies
  6. look through a photo album and label old pictures
  7. decorate the house for an upcoming holiday
  8. write a letter to a relative
  9. go to the zoo
  10. get dressed up and go to dinner
  11. take a walk in the mall on a cold day
  12. put together a book of favorite family recipes
  13. make a family tree
  14. go get ice cream
  15. visit a pet store or humane society
  16. listen to music (of all generations)
  17. make a list of senior discounts in town and take advantage of them one by one
  18. buy a vase and keep it filled with fresh flowers
  19. go to the library
  20. tape record old stories and give to family members

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