11 Ways You Can Actually Help Cheer Up Your Grandparents When They're Lonely At Their Age

By Yumna Rathore | 25 Dec, 2017

Seeing our grandparents do nothing is a sight we see too often. Whether you have a nana who lives with you or you have a dadi who you visit every week – most grandparents (and often retired parents) have feelings of sadness and depression if their life is lonesome after retirement. Many are physically well, but mentally disturbed.

Their happiness becomes dependent on weekly, monthly, or yearly visits from their betas, bahus, potas, and potees.

Source: Hum Network

There are many ways to get your grandparents out of this gloomy funk. The next time you see your grandparents, try the following:

1. Teach them how to use the latest gadgets…

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Many grandparents feel old because they don’t know what the “cool kids” are doing these days. Have an old laptop or phone? Teach your grandparents how to use a laptop or a phone. Teach them how to change an image or add a Whatsapp story. Imagine what an outcast you’d be if you didn’t know how to use Facebook!

2. …so they can connect to the world!

Source: Giphy.com

Help them open their own social media accounts and be patient! You can’t teach them everything in a day and yes they will ask you many questions. Don’t mock or ridicule them when they ask what a filter is or why there are so many emojis. They want to learn and you, their grandchild, are the perfect teacher.

3. Encourage them to play mind games like Sudoku.

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Research suggests strategy building-related games like cards, sudoku, bridge, chess, scrabble (or even Ludo) keep the mind running. It keeps the brain juices flowing and gets them thinking. Download these on their phone or when you have time, sit and play with them!

4. …or help them set up weekly games with old friends.

Source: Dharma Productions

Many older folks become depressed because of their very laid-back lifestyle. Waking up at 1 PM and staying at home all day only to go to sleep and wait for the sun to shine again is frankly boring and would make anyone feel sad and lonely. Encourage your folks to set weekly gatherings with old friends at an outdoor club or restaurant. You could even encourage them to host game nights at a different house every week. This is a great opportunity to mingle!

5. If gaming is not their thing, what about reading?

Source: Walt Disney Pictures

Know a recent book that might interest them? Buy it for them. Encourage book discussions and clubs over some chai shai. Engage them in conversations related to the book.

6. Better yet, enroll them in some sort of physical activity.

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Simply speed walking, doing yoga or Tai Chi, or dancing to some Zumba music should be a daily activity that you can build into their routine. They could take up a gym membership or start playing a sport like golf or even swimming. If they’re interested, you could buy them some gardening or knitting tools too.

7. …or some skills-based classes!

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Many grandparents have regrets, especially those that have not worked in their life. They often feel like they didn’t do enough for themselves. In this case, talk to them and look for classes that might interest them. Painting? Photography? PowerPoint? Graphic Designing?

8. Sometimes all they want is to be around people.


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Encourage them to attend lectures that might interest them. This could be a psychologist speaking on a topic of their choice or a poetry slam or a politician or educationist giving a talk in a nearby university or school. Grandparents love talking about themselves and reminiscing in the past. Perhaps a discussion-based setting would allow them to do just that!

9. …or to make new friends in spontaneous adventure trips.

Source: ARY Films

Grandparents often travel to visit their children abroad. But instead of traveling to visit family, what about going on spontaneous trips? This doesn’t have to be abroad. What about a trip to Hunza Valley with a tour group? Allow them to take that risk and challenge. Meeting and conversing with new people, often younger people, is just what they need to brighten up their lives. Traveling by themselves could also make them feel less dependent on others.

10. Giving back to the community helps.

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Perhaps social work is something that would interest them. Find a local nonprofit that you may want to donate money or goods to and take them along for the visit and experience. This obviously doesn’t apply to the home-bodies out there. Not all grandparents want to change, some are perfectly happy living their retired and relaxed lives on their comfy sofas. BUT for those who do, they just need a little bit of pushing and motivation. Once they start I can promise you they won’t stop!

11. …especially when it means being part of an organization.

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There are many organizations in Pakistan dedicated to social work. For example, Rotary Club is made up of a diverse group of international business and professional leaders, often retired, who get together for community service. With more than 30,000 Rotary clubs in 166 countries, being a Rotarian means engaging with like-minded individuals and working towards a notable cause. This gives the elderly a sense of responsibility – almost like a part-time job.

We love our grandparents and we want them to be in our lives for as long as possible. Let’s keep them young and happy!

Share what you would do for your grandparents. How can you help them?

cover image via: Getty Images

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