There is a sense of loss and dependence that comes with aging. As older individuals lose some autonomy, they also lose part of their identity. Humans tend to associate their abilities and skills as part of their overall self-worth and ego. When these capabilities begin to naturally decrease with age, we tend to struggle with the change. Many adults are concerned about the mental health and happiness of their older parents. While health issues are always important, many people also worry about the will and motivation of their elderly loved ones. Here are a few motivational tips for seniors.
1. Set manageable goals for seniors to accomplish
Younger individuals, teenagers, and even adults are often reminded and encouraged to set goals. This is taught routinely throughout the education system and is even championed in the workplace. These goals provide people with a purpose for which to work. The accomplishment of these goals also brings a sense of pride and self-efficacy. This same motivation can be used with older individuals. It is important to set a few manageable goals to ensure that the elderly don’t become disillusioned with the difficulty of the task. These goals can be administered on a daily basis and can be as simple as completing a few stretches or eating a full meal. Constant encouragement and care are paramount when seniors are attempting to achieve these goals.
2. Encourage the elderly to connect with their identity
Many people make the mistake of only viewing older people as part of the senior community. All of these individuals were once vivacious and young individuals that led passionate and exciting lives. They had adventures, made mistakes and fell in love. It is important for individuals to help seniors recount these memories as a form of self-affirmation. If nobody cares to hear about their old stories, the elderly are less-likely to retell or recall these memories. Being treated as a senior on a daily basis can be taxing on a person. Helping the elderly reconnect with their youthful past and memories can be a meaningful way to increase their self-efficacy and identity. It is helpful to encourage seniors to fill their rooms with pictures, trophies, movies, honors and other memorabilia from their past. Encourage the elderly to construct their biography is another excellent way to enhance their social, emotional and cognitive activity.
3. Help seniors learn about technology
Many seniors feel left out of the current times because technology has become such an integral part of everyday life. Furthermore, social media and the internet represent excellent opportunities for seniors to connect with friends and family. This ensures that older individuals don’t have to await personal visits to contact their loved ones. A quick Skype chat, short email or phone call can mean the world for a senior. This social connection via technology also offers family and friends a reliable way to check on the physical, mental and emotional health of their loved one without having to visit. It is important to remember that social media cannot act as a surrogate or replacement for physical intimacy and emotional connection. Instead, it should be used for times in between these truer connections. Studies have actually shown that social media usage is becoming more popular amongst the older generations.
4. Offer seniors a sense of relevancy and usefulness
Many seniors experience a sense of uselessness. Instead of being able to care for others, the elderly are dependant upon others. Although this care is appreciated and necessary, many seniors desire to have a feeling of relevance and usefulness. Even those who are physically limited will have this innate desire. There are small ways that people can engage seniors and provide them with this sense of usefulness. Individuals can ask seniors for advice on life. Whether facing a promotion or potential breakup, seniors will be able to offer a lot of helpful advice from their years of experience. Conversations are a great technique for employing this feeling of relevance for seniors who aren’t able to move very well. For those seniors who are physically capable, small tasks or projects can be administered. Solving puzzles, cleaning up a small area or washing dishes are some great examples of tasks that can be performed.