Supporting Emotional Wellness for Seniors
How are you doing?
The way that you handle daily stress can provide a window into your overall emotional state. October is Emotional Wellness Month, an ideal opportunity to take stock of how we are doing as well as consider the emotional wellness of the seniors we love.
First, let’s define emotional wellness. It is the ability that we have to handle the stresses of life as well as how well we adapt to both difficult times and change. This includes being able to have empathy for yourself and being kind as you recognize various feelings that you are experiencing.
Emotional wellness can give you a sense of peace and empowerment. If you are experiencing a grounded sense of emotional wellness, you may recognize some of these signs:
- A sense of contentment
- The ability to relax and unwind
- The presence of a strong support system of people you can count on
- Saying “no” to a request or invitation without guilt
- Being able to share your feelings openly
As we age, our emotional wellness can be put to the test. According to the Weill Institute for Neurosciences at The University of California, San Francisco, older adults are resilient but their emotional wellness can be challenged by health issues and life changes. Here are some ideas to help the seniors in your life to improve their emotional wellness:
- Maintain creativity: Doing a creative activity gives a boost to brain health. Encourage senior loved ones to complete a project that may have fallen by the wayside like finishing a painting, putting in the final pieces to a puzzle or organizing a family photo album that has been on their radar. Help them to start something new, like a hobby that has always intrigued your loved one but they may not have had time to do, like learning a new language, compiling a family cookbook of treasured recipes, or learning to play a musical instrument.
- Start an exercise routine: Scheduling 15-20 minutes of exercise in the morning or mid afternoon can boost endorphin levels and improve their outlook and mood. A walk, swim or stationary bike ride can also help their overall health and well being. Make it a habit by scheduling it in at the same time everyday and being an accountability partner that your loved one can text or call to say that today’s exercise is done.
- Keep social connections active: Older adults run the risk of dealing with depression and negative health effects when they feel isolated. Help your loved ones stave off loneliness by staying active in things that keep them happy like a book club, garden group or other hobby-based activity. Assisting a loved one to navigate technology and gain confidence in connecting with friends and family via video chats or text can strengthen their social bonds.
Take the time to check in with your own mental health as well as keep an eye on the emotional wellbeing of the seniors in your life. You’ll see - and feel - the difference when you take the time to proactively make it a priority.
A pioneer in the senior care industry, CarePatrol has been giving families peace of mind for three decades. Our Senior Care Advisors always take emotional wellness into the equation when asking questions to match a senior with the right communities, including assisted living, independent living, memory care, nursing homes or more. CarePatrol peace of mind is provided at absolutely no cost to seniors or their families.