November is National Gratitude Month in both the U.S. and Canada. Gratitude is an attitude that blesses both the receiver and the giver. Stacey Grewal, who is an author, spiritual mentor, and coach, gives us great insight. “Gratitude is an essential ingredient of a happy, fulfilling life,” says Grewal, who wrote the book Gratitude and Goals. “Research shows that practicing daily gratitude can enhance our moods, decrease stress, and drastically improve our overall level of wellbeing.”
With that in mind, perhaps you’d like to work with your aging parent to help him develop this attitude of gratitude this month. Here are several ideas to help even those who sometimes struggle with finding the good around them.
Keep a gratitude journal.
A good place to start is having a gratitude journal. While your parent can use it however he likes, most people find it works best when the user journals each day. They also write up 3-5 things they are grateful for that day. At first, it might be hard to remember that many things, but encourage your parent to look at little daily events to be grateful for. Maybe it’s the sunset. It could be his companion care at home provider, who brought him his favorite donut from the local donut shop.
Share the gratitude.
While knowing what to be grateful for is a start, to really pour out the blessings, your parent should look for ways to share his gratitude. The simplest way is often the easiest – saying “thank you.” We’re all usually taught from a young age to say thank you when someone extends us kindness, but sometimes those good habits go astray. Remind your parent to thank his companion care at home provider for visiting. He can thank his grandkids for calling, and even thank the postal carrier for delivering the mail. Sometimes hearing a simple thankful and knowing people appreciate you can make even a bad day turn around.
Write up his gratitude.
Maybe your parent wants to do even more. He wants to create something that will highlight his gratitude. One of the easier things to do is write up a thank you card. These are great for any gifts or extra efforts someone took to make his day special. But he can also surprise people for simply doing their job well. He can write a thoughtful thank you card for his companion care at home team, so that they all know how much he appreciates them. If he has someone deliver meals, a thank you card would probably be greatly appreciated.
Create a gratitude gift.
While not needed, sometimes a small token gift to express gratitude can be especially well received. If your parent has a hobby where he creates something (such as a craft, a food item, or some artwork), he can use that talent to make a wonderful gratitude gift on those special occasions.
Encourage your parent to embrace the gratitude theme of November and watch his life light up with the joy he brings others.