Not only is the elderly population large, but it’s getting larger every year due to the advancement of health care. On the other hand, many of them experience depression and loneliness either because they lost their partner or because they became unable to engage in various social activities. This means that a big part of our society is lonely. But there’s something you can do about it–and tea can have a surprising role in it. Namely, sometimes, offering a cup of tea to an elderly person is one of the best things you can do, and here’s why:
Tea Connects People
Back in the early 19th century, Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, started a whole new tradition when she complained about having a “sinking feeling” during the late afternoon and she needed company. She started organizing afternoon tea parties and soon it spread among the aristocracy. That’s how afternoon tea became a perfect way to pass the time and connect with people as well. Some form of this tradition still lives all over the world – gatherings with hot beverages always have the vibe of closeness, regardless of whether you offer it to a friend or to a stranger. That might be your first step if you want to help an older person.
Tea Combats Stigma
Prescribing a medicine to an elderly person is not always the solution, since some of their issues can go beyond that. Besides the loneliness and depression, old people have to deal with the isolation and the entire stigma around them. Furthermore, elderly people often stigmatize themselves because they fear they’ll be pitied or perceived as a burden to others. That’s another reason why offering them a cup of tea is a good approach – it’s a perfect way to say “I care, not because it’s my job, but because I could be your friend.”
It can Help You Find your Purpose
When someone mentions volunteering, people usually associate it with something nice people can do to fill their free time. However, volunteering is much more than that, since it can have a huge impact on the society. For example, if you decide to organize tea parties for the elderly population, you’ll be delivering a critical service. What’s even better, you’ll see the results of your efforts and there’s no better feeling than that. Furthermore, this might be a start of the journey to find your purpose. Who knows, maybe you decide to pursue a career in home care? Or you’ll simply have the advantage when applying for another job because you have volunteering experience. Either way, it can only be beneficial.
It’s Good for Health
Besides the psychological benefits a cup of tea shared with someone can bring, tea can be good for an elderly person’s physical health as well. Green tea is valuable in particular since it’s packed with antioxidants which improve red blood cells and saliva oxidative status. Besides, green tea contains around 40 percent water-extractable polyphenols that can help with weight loss. A study showed it can help stabilize the appetite, which is a major concern for the elderly. Furthermore, various reports stated that green tea lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s and certain cancers, so make sure that’s what you put in a teapot when offering a cup of tea to an elderly person.
There’s so much you could learn from an older person – just imagine the wisdom they have gained over the years. On the other hand, a meaningful conversation or simply someone who listens can mean the world to the elderly. So, it’s true – a cup of tea can make a difference!
EDITOR’S NOTE: EARLIER TODAY, THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY INCORRECTLY ATTRIBUTED TO THE WRONG PERSON. SORRY, EMMA!