They say gratitude changes your attitude, and this time of the year, even more than any other, drives home the desire for us to express our thankfulness. Yet for the elderly, for a variety of reasons, it can be difficult to find and focus on the positives in the middle of the difficulties of aging, such as chronic health conditions, mobility issues, cognitive concerns, lost loved ones, and so much more.
It is essential for us to help our older family members who might feel anything but thankful to shift their attention to appreciation, as research has shown the following senior health benefits of thankfulness:
- Enhanced physical and psychological health
- Improved sleeping habits
- Strengthened relationships
- Decreased aggression
- A boost in self-esteem
- Increased resilience and mental strength
- And many others
These pointers can promote a better outlook – for the older adults you love, in addition to yourself:
- Grateful breathing. Settle into a peaceful, comfortable location, close your eyes, and take ten deep, cleansing breaths. As you exhale each breath, think to yourself a simple phrase of gratitude, such as “thank you.” This technique helps reduce heart rate and blood pressure, soothing both body and mind.
- Journaling. Each day, select 3 things – even the tiniest of things – for which you’re thankful, and document them in a diary or journal. It can be as basic as a hot cup of coffee, a call from a relative, and the soft rainfall. Read back through your entries on a frequent basis.
- Looking for surprises. Look for something in your immediate environment that perhaps you hadn’t observed before, or that you are seeing the very first time in a different way. Has a new type of bird come to your bird feeder this morning? Can you pick out a well-liked childhood toy in the background of a family photo?
- Engaging sensory input. Find a focal point that engages your senses, and take the time to appreciate each one of these. Step outside to feel and smell the fresh, brisk air of fall. Savor a bite of warm apple pie. Look at the morning sunrise. Switch on a popular song (and sing along!)
Hearts at Home In-Home Care, the elder care Overland Park leader, is always readily available to help brighten each day for senior loved ones and also to provide numerous reasons for gratitude! Our thoroughly trained and experienced caregivers make the perfect companion to engage in interesting activities, discussions, and excursions, and are here to help with a wide range of in-home care services, such as planning and preparing healthy meals, making certain the home is clean and well organized, running errands, helping with personal care needs, and much more. Call us at 913-440-4209 for a free in-home consultation or for additional resources in order to improve quality of life for a senior you love.