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How to Improve the Self-Esteem of Your Elderly Loved Ones

How to Improve the Self-Esteem of Your Elderly Loved Ones

How to Improve the Self-Esteem of Your Elderly Loved Ones

Retirement offers a life of leisure, yet it can also lead to a decline in self-esteem among the elderly. As individuals reach a certain age, they are more prone to experiencing low self-esteem. Nonetheless, families and caregivers have the capacity to enhance the overall self-esteem of seniors.

Why do seniors experience low self-esteem?

Studies show that self-esteem begins to decline between the ages of 60 and 70. Seniors’ self-esteem decreases in proportion to the unique life challenges that they face, such as the passing of loved ones, worsening physical and cognitive health, and a seeming loss of control.

Additionally, older people are faced with the task of adjusting to life in retirement, which can bring on a new set of issues. Seniors are less productive, which also impacts self-esteem. Increasing loneliness and isolation due to various factors also contribute to low self-esteem.

For instance, seniors who are reluctant to drive due to poor vision and slower reflexes will be more or less housebound, which prevents them from visiting with friends or mingling with likeminded peers at social events. Immobile seniors also have a hard time venturing out of the home.

Increasing health problems can also lower self-esteem as many seniors do not have the physical capabilities they did when they were younger. Chronic conditions and illnesses that cause near constant discomfort and pain make it difficult for seniors to feel better about themselves.

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is how a person perceives and values themselves. The term is interchangeable with terms like self-respect and self-worth. Self-esteem can fall at the low end of the spectrum (which results in destructive activities), or it may teeter on the high end (narcissism). Healthy self-esteem falls somewhere in the middle.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow concluded that esteem is derived from a person’s inner feelings and thoughts about oneself, as well as the esteem given by other people. Both are necessary to achieve self-actualization. Self-esteem, Maslow suggests, is a basic human motivation.

What are signs of healthy self-esteem?

A strong sense of self-esteem manifests as confidence and having a positive outlook on life. Seniors with healthy self-esteem are able to say no when they choose. Older adults are able to see their weaknesses and strengths and accept them. Seniors express their needs and avoid dwelling on the negative.

What are signs of low self-esteem?

Low self-esteem can result in a range of problems in the elderly, such as having a negative outlook on life and focusing on weaknesses. Seniors lacking self-esteem have a hard time saying no. They also fail to accept positive feedback and struggle with confidence.

How to Boost Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is a fluid feeling and may fluctuate depending on a person’s mood and the situation around them. This means that if your senior loved ones experience low self-esteem, it is possible to give their self-esteem a boost. The following are some tips to help increase the self-esteem of your senior loved ones:

1. Develop Social Connections

Improving an elderly loved one’s quality of life requires helping them achieve greater self-esteem. Social connectedness helps seniors feel that they are a valued part of a group or social circle. Seniors with strong family connections and friendships report higher self-esteem and happiness.

Families who live a far distance from their elderly loved ones have the option to hire a caregiver to serve as a companion. While companion caregivers build relationships with care recipients, they also provide transportation to senior centers, where seniors can form bonds with like-minded peers.

2. Promote Independence

Seniors who develop age-related physical or cognitive problems are likely to experience lower self-esteem, simply because they are no longer able to perform tasks independently. Being unable to drive or live alone, for example, seniors experience a perceived loss of control, capability, and identity.

Modifying the home so that it is senior friendly is one way to combat the low self-esteem associated with declining capabilities. Smart homes are installed with features that are convenient for the older population and make it safer and easier to live and function independently at home.

Families may also help the senior focus on doing the tasks they are still able to do, rather than dwelling on what they can no longer perform. Professional caregivers, too, assist seniors by allowing them to independently accomplish tasks and supporting them whenever help is needed.

3. Encourage Relationships

As it is during any age, like-minded peers are invaluable to a person’s sense of self-worth. Outside of families and friends, senior groups provide older people with a chance to socially connect. Groups that focus on a particular activity or hobby are especially helpful in improving self-esteem.

A senior who joins a bridge group, book club, or knitting circle will be surrounded by people who can share similar experiences. Social circles filled with people with whom they can relate are important. Swapping stories and sharing experiences does wonders for uplifting a senior’s self-esteem.

Joining senior support groups is also beneficial for improving a senior’s self-esteem. Helpful groups in which seniors can both vent and learn include grief support groups, dementia-related support groups, addiction recovery support groups, chronic illness support groups, and lifestyle changes support groups.

4. Pursue Hobbies

Seniors may have once enjoyed engaging in a hobby but have since stopped due to a health condition. Families and caregivers who encourage the senior to pick up the hobby again will promote a renewed sense of self-esteem and confidence in the elderly individual.

Companion caregivers are important in helping seniors restart old hobbies. Seniors who found joy in arts and crafts will once again feel delight when a caregiver joins them in scrapbooking. Simpler activities include caregivers watching a game of golf with a senior who is an avid golf fan.

5. Squash Negative Aging Stereotypes

In general, societal expectations view aging in a negative light. However, seniors are worthy citizens just like everyone else who have skills, knowledge, and wisdom that can contribute positively to society.

It is easy for seniors to get wrapped up in negative stereotypes that can deflate their self-esteem as they feel like the world has left them behind. You can help boost the self-esteem of your loved ones by showing them respect and appreciation for all of their contributions both past and present. You can also reassure them that slowing down due to the effects of aging is nothing to be ashamed of as it is normal for people to experience as they get older and everyone, including the younger population, has limitations.

6. Ask for Advice

Senior citizens have experienced a lot in life and learned lessons along the way that make them an invaluable resource for advice and wisdom. If you are experiencing an issue in your life or have general questions about anything, including raising children or balancing your life and career, ask your senior loved ones for advice.

Chances are your senior loved ones have had the same experiences and overcome challenges similar to the ones you face, and their advice can be enlightening and helpful. Asking your senior loved ones for advice and listening to them when they talk can help boost their self-esteem by giving them a sense of purpose.

Companion Care from Assisting Hands

Companion Care Elmhurst Illinois

Improving a senior’s self-esteem is a task that requires the help of family, friends, and caregivers. Simply spending time with them and engaging them in meaningful conversations and their favorite hobbies can boost their self-esteem with feelings of happiness and purpose. Encouraging them to be more independent within their capabilities and to pursue their hobbies and social connections can be motivating, which will also increase their sense of self-worth.

When your elderly loved one could use a boost in confidence, turn to Assisting Hands Home Care for the most compassionate senior care in the area. The companion care services provided by Assisting Hands Home Care are non-medical yet comprehensive in nature. Our elder care professionals’ daily responsibilities include meal preparation, grocery shopping, transportation to doctor’s offices, help with personal hygiene, running errands, and light housekeeping. Our caregivers also build personal relationships with your loved ones and provide them with meaningful companionship that can provide a boost to their self-esteem.

Assisting Hands Home Care providers are licensed, bonded, and insured, so that families and their elderly loved ones have maximum peace of mind. If your aging loved one lives in Medinah, IL | Glendale Heights, IL | Itasca, IL | Bensenville, IL | Elmhurst, IL | Villa Park, IL | Addison, IL | Lombard, IL, consult our reputable home care agency for high-quality elder care services. We offer a complimentary consultation.