Life is full of changes and challenges, many of which affect a person’s motivation and mental state as they age. Numerous studies show a link between self-esteem and general health, but life after 65—and the perceived losses that come with it—can take quite the toll. Boosting an older loved one’s self-confidence helps them retain their independence and contribute to their overall well-being.
Some mental health experts, however, argue that seniors who don’t fit the stereotype of ‘old age’ do much better when they see themselves as active and purposeful beings. Bolstering a senior citizen’s mental state and giving them a feeling of belonging and purpose can improve their self-image and mental health. Here, we will share several ways to encourage and motivate the seniors in your life.
Help Them Form Social Connections
No matter the age, every person needs to keep their friends and family close. Research shows that seniors who live near their relatives and friends have more self-confidence. In a memory care community, seniors will find it easier to form social connections that may last a lifetime.
Encourage the Use of Technology
Online networking gives families and seniors the chance to stay connected, no matter how far apart they may be. Social media is a great way to check in on a senior and assess their mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Although it’s no replacement for face-to-face interaction, social media is a great supplement that keeps older adults motivated and connected.
Eliminate Age-Related Stereotypes
The media—and society in general—engulfs us in negative imagery and messages about aging. All that negativity, though, won’t do much for an older person’s mental state. Try to stay positive when visiting an elderly loved one and be sure to let them know how much their contributions are valued. If they’re worried about their limitations, assure them that their frailty, hearing loss, or weakness isn’t a reason to be ashamed. We all have limitations, and they shouldn’t define our lives as we age.
Help Them Maintain Balance and Strength
If a loved one is strong and steady on his or her feet, they’ll find it easier to get around and care for themselves. Encourage your senior loved ones to take fitness and balance classes, which many assisted living communities offer, or walk with them regularly to help them maintain their strength. A decline in strength and overall health easily leads to a loss of confidence and self-esteem.
Set Attainable Goals
Having a clear goal in mind instills pride, purpose, and motivation, and seniors are no exception. To motivate and encourage your elderly loved one, set a few manageable goals and help them toward those achievements. Even if a goal seems simple to the outside world, attaining it can be the highlight of a senior’s day.
Ask for Advice
Senior loved ones are full of experience, advice, and wisdom, and it’s up to us to bring it out. Ask for their input or for help with a serious problem; they might have some valuable insights that you may not have considered. Whether it’s a question about cooking, gardening, cleaning, or life, asking seniors for their help gives them a sense of purpose and boosts their confidence.
Make Their Surroundings More Accessible
In many cases, declining self-esteem is the result of diminishing independence. Take a proactive approach by installing tub handrails, using non-slip rugs, and keeping well-used items easily reachable. At Summerfield of Encinitas Memory Care, we give our residents the tools they need to live fulfilling, yet safe lives.
Discuss Current Events
Getting a senior loved one’s opinion on world events will give you insights into their life experience. When a person feels as if their outlook is valued and appreciated, they tend to view themselves more confidently. While we won’t always agree with one another, it’s important to have regular, respectful discussions.
Have a Sense of Compassion
When interacting with senior loved ones, a sense of empathy and compassion is essential. Hearing loss may be misinterpreted as the failure to understand, while diminishing stamina is often seen as stubbornness and apathy. While older people sometimes have limitations—as we all do—it is important to treat them with compassion, respect, and dignity.
Visit Summerfield of Encinitas Memory Care to speak with a trained staff member who can offer insight into what may happen as a loved one gets older. We’re always ready to show families how we enrich our residents’ lives with activities and programs that boost self-esteem and instill a sense of purpose. Request information online or call today to schedule a visit.