Jan 31, 2018 by Larry Morgan
There may come a point when your favorite senior, whether it is a parent, other relative or a friend, is in need of care. Given the situation, you may be providing said assistance, or at least involved in their care to some extent.
Having such an important role can really impact your senior loved one’s quality of life, so it’s important to cover your bases to ensure their healthiness and happiness. One of these bases is their self-esteem.
This isn’t a factor commonly thought about in regards to senior care, but it is crucial to them living a high quality of life. How can you help in this department? Here are some things to keep in mind:
Nothing acts like a self-esteem booster than feeling independent. You make your own decisions, do the things you want to do, and don’t have to rely on others to accomplish your goals.
Unfortunately, upon requiring care, your senior automatically loses some sense of independence, if not all. Whether they’re physically or mentally incapacitated (or both), they may feel like they’re being babied or that you don’t trust in them to help themselves.
While you won’t stop giving care, you can help them regain some feelings of independence. Ask for their opinions when making decisions, even on small things like what to have for dinner. Let them choose some of the activities you do, like which park to go to or what movie to see. Most importantly, if there are some things they can still do safely by themselves, let them do them! Only help where help is needed, and in this case, wanted.
Senior isolation is very detrimental to mental health, including self-esteem. Your loved one may not be able to leave the house as often or make trips to see family across the country like they used to, so the loneliness becomes heightened.
Fortunately, with websites like Facebook and devices like cellphones that can video chat, your loved one can stay in the loop with anyone they want to, from anywhere. It’s not the same as face-to-face contact, of course, but it’s the next best thing.
Look in your community (especially at your local clinic or senior center) to see what groups or clubs are available and applicable to your senior.
For example, do they have Parkinson’s and are having a hard time adapting to their bodily changes? A Parkinson’s support group can provide a vital form of companionship and sympathy for your loved one. Being able to hear others going through the same things and sharing their story themselves can help them deal with whatever condition or situation with more positivity and strength.
Something you can do as an added bonus to boosting your senior’s self esteem is to educate others on the stigma we all hold against the elderly.
Most people assume that aging is bad, that you’ll get dementia or some degenerative condition and live a boring rest of your life. While this is true for some people, the vast majority of seniors lives fulfilling retirements and has amazing end-of-life experiences. Furthermore, just because someone is diagnosed with a condition does not mean that they are less human.
It’s time we treat our elders with the respect they deserve. Educating those around you about this can help reduce this stigma to do just that.