It’s not uncommon for older Americans to develop problems with depression and anxiety, especially when seniors also struggle with declining physical and/or neurological health. The good news is that there are plenty of steps family caregivers can take to uplift their older family members so that they can continue to enjoy life to its fullest. Read on to find out about some proven techniques for communication, encouragement, and affirmation for those who require assistance with the activities of daily life (ADLs).
Encourage Manageable Goals
Developing and accomplishing manageable goals can instill a sense of purpose, motivation, and pride. Family members should be sure to tailor their encouragement to the person, though. What may seem easy to them could be very challenging for someone living in assisted living or aging in place at home.
Try to focus on daily goals, not long-term projects, and don’t get too ambitious. Consider options like completing small craft projects or, even better, a self-care measure like giving up cookies or walking for a certain distance every day. It’s also fine to help aging loved ones to accomplish these goals if they are struggling, but make sure to focus praise on the person’s accomplishments.
Every older adult was once young, ambitious, and ready to make his or her mark on the world at one point. Encouraging aging loved ones to share stories, through either words or pictures, is a great way to reaffirm their personal identities and offer praise for past accomplishments. Placing photos, posters, certificates of honor, and other memorabilia from the person’s past in easy-to-see spots around the room or house can also act as a daily reminder.
Most seniors are a bit technophobic, which makes sense. Learning new technologies is hard, even for people who are in the prime of life. Adding memory problems or cognitive decline to the mix can make it seem almost impossible, but it’s worth the effort.
Signing seniors up on social networking sites is a great example of a productive and validating use of technology. Social media offers a way for aging loved ones to stay connected. It also allows family caregivers and other loved ones to check in and assess the person’s well-being.
Find Ways to Make Seniors Feel Useful
Everyone wants to feel like they have a purpose in life and can be useful or helpful to others, including seniors. Unfortunately, when physical or cognitive functions become limited, it can be hard to perform the same tasks that have offered a sense of helpfulness and pride in the past. Try to find ways to make aging loved ones feel like they are still participating in key activities by introducing topics and asking for their opinions and advice.
If seniors are still physically and cognitively fit, it can be even more validating to start projects together. Asking for help completing a family photo album is a great example. It offers not just a sense of purpose and usefulness but also a great segway into conversations about past accomplishments and other memories.
Encourage Adaptive Coping Skills
Older adults almost always experience at least some level of cognitive and/or physical decline, which can be incredibly hard to cope with. Teaching coping skills allows older loved ones to transition into old age with dignity. Younger family members and caregivers can
- Breaking tasks into smaller, more manageable steps
- Offering only as much assistance as a loved one requires to complete a goal
- Allowing seniors to do what they can instead of offering help with everything
- Helping elderly loved ones set reasonable goals
These coping skills will do more than help seniors learn how to deal with life’s daily challenges in the moment. They will make it easier to transition if the person eventually requires more care than can be offered at home. Seniors who are nervous about the idea of moving into assisted living can also stay for a short period in a community that offers respite care packages. Short-term stays will give aging loved ones a chance to put their learned coping skills to good use.
Relax in Style
Seniors who need assistance with daily activities may not be able to go on the same kinds of vacations that they used to, but that doesn’t mean there’s no way to relax and feel rejuvenated. Tiffany Court assisted living in Walnut Creek offers short-term stays with VIP care. Every short-term resident gets chef-prepared meals, access to an activity center and beauty salon, and more. Whether family caregivers are heading out of town or seniors just want some time away, our short-term stays are a perfect option. Call (925) 933-5555 to schedule a tour today.