How To Motivate And Encourage The Elderly

How To Motivate And Encourage The Elderly

As people get on in years, motivation, determination and a desire to be proactive and participative seem to be on the decline, typically for those between 60 to 65 years, described as elderly, senior or older adults, by the World Health Organization (WHO).

This could be due to a decline in speed and agility, general health, poor eyesight, loss of hearing or a slowing down of metabolic activity or it could also be attributed to a lack of self- worth, the realization of impending retirement and the stigma attached to it. All aspects of an elder’s life require motivation and a strong mind. The WHO commends the virtues of exercise to be mentally alert with focus, fitness, and flexibility in thought and action, to maintain the quality of life. Also, caring for an older adult entails more than empathy, it requires unique interpersonal strategies and skills.

Set Few Achievable Goals
Setting manageable goals can inculcate motivation and a sense of honour in accomplishment and a purpose to jump out of bed each morning! Setting few goals is of relevance, as the completion of small projects or adhering to an exercise routine facilitates and enhances self-confidence. Further, it would be beneficial for caregivers and family members to remember that lavish compliments for each minute step can make a senior’s day!

Allow Them To Affirm Their Identity
Though for most of us, it is hard to imagine that a family elder was once a young person filled with energy, passionate dreams and aspirations, encouraging seniors to reminisce and affirm their identity is critical. And just by listening attentively to elders talk about their past, reinstates their confidence and ability in themselves.

An effective way of psychological resourcing which can keep elderly people socially, emotionally and cognitively active, is to get them to speak about themselves and come up with a living biography with vivid narrations, photographs and artefacts.

Encourage Them To Be Tech-Savvy
Moreover, encouraging elders to become tech-savvy and appreciate technology for better communication, is the panacea for isolation amongst elders. Social networking is a boon for senior citizens, as they are able to connect with long lost friends and family. These online connections can provide a chance for checking remotely on the seniors’ well-being in frequent intervals.

Though this techno-connectivity cannot replace emotional closeness as well as the physical intimacy that is possible only with face to face interaction, it has nevertheless been researched, that many older adults would feel left out and experience a sense of loneliness without social networking. Thus, currently, more and more older adults are populating the social networking platforms.

Provide Them With The Support They Need
Making elders feel wanted and useful in spite of physical and mental challenges is an art that needs to be cultivated by close family members and caregivers. Relying on elders who are cognitively active, seeking their advice regarding the practical aspects of life and making them feel they are the best mentors, is a sure way for them to feel more motivated as well as help them build a stronger mind.

Making elders feel wanted and useful in spite of physical and mental challenges is an art that needs to be cultivated by close family members and caregivers

At times, motivation amongst the elderly seems to diminish, as they find it difficult to do everyday activities with ease. They tend to realise that they have slowed down in day to day activities, compared to how they were sometime back. The lack of mobility, aches or pains in the hands, legs and other parts of the body may be a few of the issues they encounter. Thus, providing positive inputs and assisting them can make them feel they have moral, physical and mental support.

Additionally, encouraging flexible and adaptive coping skills and helping elders adjust to their shortcomings with respect and dignity, enhances motivation and well-being. Adaptive devices for the arthritic hands or special walking aids, better lighting etc. all contribute to self-assertiveness and a sense of independence.

Ways To Motivate And Encourage The Elderly

  • Get things done together. Assist the elderly according to their needs
  • Use special tools or devices to get things done
  • Encourage them to engage in new activities
  • Discuss the benefits of staying active
  • Keep visiting them to make them happy
  • Encourage them to volunteer in imparting knowledge to the younger generation
  • Promote healthy eating
  • Listen patiently to them rather than interrupting them, as it may help them evoke confidence from within
  • Instil the need of exercising as doing mild exercises cannot harm them
  • Make available the essential medicines which they can easily access, in case of any emergency

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