Seniors are a particularly vulnerable segment of our society in Nevada and throughout the country. While this is a broad generalization, and many seniors do not fit this statement because they’re well-prepared for their golden years in good health and with good health guidance, many seniors are socially isolated. They face deteriorating health issues alone and are left to fend for themselves without proper guidance. Their financial situation deteriorates in many cases, along with their quality of life.
Seniors are in need of emotional stability and a solid social network of friends and caregivers to avoid these types of dramatic scenarios. The first step towards a happy and fulfilling golden age is emotional well-being from which an enriching and healthier lifestyle can emerge.
What You Can Do to Help
So, what are the most common emotional needs of our senior citizens? How do we help support their emotional well-being? Here are six things that you can provide your senior loved one to improve their emotional well-being:
It goes without saying that we all need to feel safe, but imagine if your reaction time was slower, your eyesight or hearing wasn’t as sharp as they used to be, your bones were brittle, and you were more prone to fall.
This is what many seniors with disabilities need to contend with on a daily basis, which is why they tend to feel a great deal of insecurity and angst.
Once we put ourselves in the senior’s place, it’s easy to empathize with such emotions. We can start to address the issue with real-life solutions. Such solutions include installing peep holes or additional security chains on the door, calling more often to make them feel that there’s someone watching over them, or an emergency button that can provide them with an added security. This way they know that if something happened to them, help is close by.
- Social Network and Community
The elderly need to have a strong social network as a cure for isolation. This is especially true if many of their acquaintances suffer from the same frailties as they do and could possibly be prone to the same feelings of loss and depression.
We need to help them maintain this social safety line, and help them enlarge it, so that they can remain active and involved at all times. A trouble shared is a trouble halved, and nothing is more affirming than having people that can share their challenges and common experiences.
It is helpful for seniors to have a group of friends that share the same interests and backgrounds so that they feel part of a community. Make sure that they maintain that level of involvement with regular meetings and outings.
- Fun and Games
Nothing brings people together like having a fun day out. Strangers can become fast friends, new experiences add to the flavor of life, and challenges surpassed give rise to confidence and a sense of accomplishment. Make sure that seniors are stimulated and challenged, help them feel that life is still full of surprises, and they can still surprise themselves by participating in new activities.
Find out what their interests are and the obstacles that prevent them from participating. Maybe they enjoy reading, but their deteriorating eyesight has become an issue. Compensate by providing books in large print or even audiobooks. Whatever the issue, there is a solution. Become the fixer they need and give them part of themselves back, while maintaining their dignity.
- Be Real
Don’t try to sugar coat the real-life challenges that seniors face. These are responsible adults that have faced challenges through their lives and surpassed them with flying colors. Their health may have deteriorated, and is likely to continue to do so, so don’t be afraid to broach the subject, but be realistic about it.
Yes, their mobility may be affected by muscle loss and deteriorating knee joints, but these can be compensated by the use of a walker and through the guidance of a physical therapist. They can enjoy their habitual walks, but they need to adapt to their changing circumstances.
This type of honesty shows that you not only understand, but that you care and that you can bring real-life solutions to a real-life situation.
A changing world can feel dangerous to seniors who can feel left out. Give them attention and take the time to explain the advantages of technologies such as the internet and social media. Be the link that helps them connect the past to the present.
However, make sure that you teach them how people can take advantage of them if they aren’t prepared. Sometimes in the digital world we take for granted the fact that not everyone is as technologically savvy as everyone else. Prepare them for scams that will more than likely come their way when they are more socially active.
Even when you’re there for them, the elderly need to feel that they can be autonomous. Help them work through the tasks in a way that validates their independence. No one wants to feel like they are a burden. Giving a senior loved one independence lets them feel like they are more than capable of handling most things on their own, which is normally true.
It’s true that many seniors need assistance when it comes to physical, and mental, wellness. However, emotional needs are often overlooked by people who are trying to care for their elderly loved one. It is vitally important that you treat a senior’s emotional state just as seriously as their physical and mental health. After all, wellness encompasses everything about a person, not just what is on the surface.
For more information and tips on how you can assist senior loved ones as they age in Nevada, contact one of our senior care consultants.