As we age, maintaining a sense of purpose in life can become more challenging as careers come to a close, adult children become busy with their own lives, and we are unable to do all the same activities we used to enjoy. Unfortunately, losing that sense of purpose can have negative effects on seniors’ mental and physical health. However, aging adults don’t have to lose their sense of purpose as they age at home. As a caregiver, there are plenty of ways to create purpose for seniors, and that sense of purpose can have great health benefits for them.
Why is it important to create purpose for the elderly?
Having a sense of purpose means more to aging adults than just having something to do every day. The sense of fulfillment from life’s experiences while maintaining a sense of purpose actually helps seniors live longer. It can also help reduce the harmful effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers even have reason to believe that it reduces stress, decreases depression, and helps lower blood pressure. So, the importance of creating a sense of purpose can’t be understated.
As a caregiver, you can support aging adults in a variety of pursuits that help them create purpose in their lives. Here are a few ideas that you can use to create purpose for seniors in your life:
- Meaningful work – After retirement, aging adults can get a feeling that they aren’t working toward anything from day to day, which can stifle their sense of purpose. Supporting them in doing work they care about – maybe volunteering or pursuing a line of work they’ve always dreamed of – can help create a great sense of purpose.
- Fulfilling relationships – One of the more difficult parts of being blessed to live to an older age is losing friends and loved ones. One way to cope with the melancholy that may come from loss is to help the aging adult nurture the relationships they still have. So, helping them make time for family and friends can be a great way to create purpose for seniors.
- Keeping fit – Physical fitness will not only help aging adults feel great physically. It will also give them the rewarding feeling of working toward a personal goal. As they reach their fitness goals, it also creates a need for celebration, which can be great for their emotional health as well.
- Creative projects – Often times, retirement can be the first time in a while that older adults have time to support their creative inclinations. Encourage them to dive into their creative endeavors, and support them in completing the projects they start.
- The little things – Creating purpose for seniors doesn’t have to mean organizing an extravagant day to day lifestyle for them. Many aging adults can appreciate and look forward to time that celebrates the little things. Starting a habit of nature walks or attending live concerts can be a great and simple way to boost their sense of purpose.
These are just a few ideas to help you get started with the aging adult you care for, but you don’t have to stop there! It’s not uncommon for seniors to be vocal about the parts of life they’re missing as they age, and if they aren’t, you can always ask. Paying attention to the topics that seniors talk about, the memories they often revisit, or even their hopes and ambitions can help you come up with ideas to chase that feeling of purpose for themselves!
If you or a loved one are experiencing a hard time maintaining purpose in older age, Help & Care, LLC can help! Contact us online or give us a call at (408) 384 4412 with any questions you may have about our services in Santa Clara county.