There is an unfortunate but growing trend in America of depression and other mood disorders among senior citizens. Even without diagnosable mental health disorders, seniors often struggle with complicated emotions that aren’t relatable to younger family members and friends. These emotions can include gratitude and feelings of personal achievement, but even positive emotions can bring feelings of sadness.
The problem is that many of the most positive experiences people have in their lives occur during their younger years. Reflecting on memories of past accomplishments, relationships, vacations, and successes can only help so much because all of those positive things are in the past, and seniors know it.
Careers end, loved ones pass away, and the body ages, making beloved hobbies and other activities more difficult. Even the most positive people can wind up struggling to maintain an attitude of gratitude in the present moment if all they think about is the past. The good news is that younger loved ones can uplift struggling seniors in the here and now. Read on to find out how.
How to Convey a Positive Message
Encouragement to elderly loved ones must be genuine and realistic if it is to do any good. Depending on the person, it may also need to be repeated. That’s part of the reason it’s so important to stay in touch with elderly loved ones consistently.
Make sure the message is personal, and don’t focus exclusively on things from the past. Try to find a way to make the person feel loved and relevant in the present, but don’t make the message too complicated. Even a simple “I love you” can help aging family members feel like they are still important and relevant.
Asking questions also goes a long way toward showing an aging family member that he or she is loved. Ask how the person is doing, then really listen to the response. It might offer some extra insight into other ways to encourage the senior to live life to its fullest.
Repetition and Creativity
It can also help to find novel ways to convey words of encouragement. Sending notes, cards, and photos to someone in assisted living with memory care will offer a reminder of how much the person is loved each time the note gets read.
Some people across the United States have found a different way to convey positive messages. The kindness rocks movement, which now includes the staff of many senior communities, spreads positivity through painted stones. Stuffed animals holding signs with positive messages are another example of a creative way to reach out.
The Importance of Patience
There’s no denying that it can be hard to have the same conversations over and over, but remember, for loved ones struggling with memory problems, it’s always the first time. Be patient and maintain compassion. After all, the person responding to questions or statements of validation in the same way, every day, is still putting in the work to maintain a relationship. Younger loved ones should do the same.
Responding to Negativity
Some seniors have more trouble with the aging process than others. If elderly loved ones are complaining all the time, find a way to turn it around. Complaints of boredom can be effectively combatted with offers to engage in fun activities. Struggles with having to give up old hobbies can be alleviated by finding new ways to use those same talents. Grief over losing a loved one offers an opportunity for younger relatives to listen and help the person through the grieving process.
Not Sure What to Say?
It’s common for younger family members to feel overwhelmed by the changes they see in their elderly loved ones. Don’t let anxiety over the ways the person has changed overshadow a valuable relationship. When loved ones aren’t sure what to say, asking questions is always a good solution.
Sharing uplifting quotes for seniors can also help to put a smile on an aging loved one’s face. This is a great way for relatives and family friends who live far off to stay in touch and offer support in a meaningful way, especially if the quotation feels personally relevant.
The Importance of a Positive Community
If seniors don’t live in situations that allow them to feel independent and valued, all the encouraging words in the world won’t do much good. Family members visiting elderly loved ones in assisted living in Lompoc, CA, should pay attention to how they feel.
If the current solution doesn’t seem like a good fit, consider transitioning to Fountain Square of Lompoc. We offer assisted living with private and semi-private memory care residences in a peaceful environment. Browse our website to learn more about our assisted living community or call (805) 736-1234 to schedule a tour.