Alert ears to learn from those who have lived longer Alert ears to learn from those who have lived longer

Having conversations and relating to elderly adults in family dynamics is fundamental to their mental and emotional wellbeing.

Advisor Hamilton Fernandez Velez
Psychologist

It is a global truth that human beings are living longer. Currently for the first time in history the greater part of the population has a life expectancy equal to or greater than 60 years of age. The World Health Organization, WHO holds that as true in its 2018 declaration “Ageing and Health”. This extension of the life expectancy offers opportunities not only for the elderly adult but also for their families and their communities.

Yes, one can live longer, but sometimes the quality of life is less good that is why the elderly adult is a concern for the social groups: the elderly’s knowledge and experience should be a source of wealth for society. They have a lot to contribute even though they have to adapt to new realities such as retirement. “The family sees in the elderly adult someone who has to be taken care of. In addition, in our society, that is a productive one, the elderly adult passes on to a second plane,” explains Psychologist and Master of Arts in Psychology,  leader of educational processes for the elderly from the Luis Amigó Catholic University Hamilton Fernandez Velez. Loneliness and in some cases isolation, in this context, deteriorates his physical and emotional state.

The specialist explains that it is necessary for the elderly to have a more protagonist role and that his presence not only inspire loving conversations, full of memories but that they become the transversal axis of family liaisons.

Doubtless, in some cases it is possible they will not manage to prepare a recipe or fix something at home but they have the knowledge and the capacity to orient these activities. Even small tasks will help them “recuperate their self-esteem, self-image and self-valuation,” adds Fernandez Velez.

“There is still more to learn”, he comments, “from the positive experiences existing in the world in which elderly adults continue to occupy spaces in companies for example as trainers of incoming personnel. Their retirement is made in a more progressive way, not so abruptly so he does not simply become a number in the list of retirees who is at a loss at what to do.”

This same elderly adult, on occasions, realizes that he is distancing himself from his loved ones in order not to burden others. “The idea would be, precisely, to abolish this stigma and turn him into a productive person not only economically but also emotionally, affectively and family-wise.”

Live Dreams

 During those years of life, according to the WHO, new activities can be undertaken such as continuation of studies, initiation of a new profession and resuming old hobbies. Nevertheless, the span of these opportunities and contributions depends greatly on one factor: health. It is therefore important to keep healthy habits along one’s life and to sustain them in old age.

“Projects in life end only with death.” says Hamilton Fernandez Velez. “As long as there is Life we will be wishing for something or dreaming of something. This obviously depends on the historical process one has. I have a been someone who has had the opportunity of living experiences, of having access to information and of having good family and social liaisons. I will be promoting the carrying out of projects.”

This stage in life is, then, an opportunity to fulfill the goals I had not reached and to develop skills. The elderly have free time to undertake new adventures.  It is therefore vital to open familiar spaces so that they can talk about that, to ask them what those projects are or to exhibit their work. This will inject them with the motivation required to move forward. “It all amounts to,” this professional believes, “an only key issue: becoming aware that the elderly adult, as any person might, needs plenty of love.”

2020

 This will be the year in which the number of people over 60 years of age will be greater than children under five years of age, according to the WHO.

Learning something new makes the brain activate its potentiality and plasticity and keeps it active and fit inspite of the passing of time.