As a caregiver of a senior adult, building and maintaining an atmosphere of positivity is vital to the overall mental health of your loved one. Here are a few ideas to help you build positivity:
- Encourage Independence: As one enters into late adulthood, the freedom and control that was once enjoyed can begin to dwindle. Look for opportunities to incorporate choices into the day to maintain the self-determination of your loved one. For example, create the weekly menu together. Come up with a few options for each meal and let them decide.
- Provide Transportation Solutions: If your loved one is still living on their own, but is no longer able to drive, be proactive about arranging transportation solutions. This could include a weekly grocery store trip, planned activities with friends, or a special outing for ice cream. Transportation is closely tied to feeling independent, so watch for ways to overcome this barrier.
- Create Opportunities for Connection: Isolation is really unhealthy for people at any age, especially those in late adulthood. Be in conversation with your loved one on a continual basis to hold them accountable to connecting with friends and loved one. It’s common to slip into distorted thinking patterns that others are “too busy”, and don’t want to be bothered. Challenge your loved one to reach out anyway, and discover how happy people are to hear from them.
- Make sure you stay positive too: No matter what stage of life you are in, there are always going to be stressors. It’s important to be balanced and intestinally be positive when interacting with senior adults. Positivity is contagious, and your demeanor can completely alter the trajectory of their day.