As we age, we tend to lose our self-esteem – perhaps due to life events that reduce our confidence and control. Boosting the self-esteem of older adults is crucial, for longevity and general happiness.
At any age, studies show that there’s a connection between self-esteem and general health. Older folks past 65 years old tend to experience a drop in self-esteem, perhaps due to losses in the later years. Death of partners and friends, loss of meaningful work in retirement, illness that affects independence – these can shatter their self-confidence.
Older adults who see themselves as active and do meaningful work tend to deal better with aging. This means that for us, we should help our older loved ones with improving their mental state and make sure they have a sense of purpose in life. It will certainly help with their self-image and mental health.
Low self-esteem also affects their physical health. Higher stress levels from low self-esteem can cause insomnia, fatigue, memory problems, depression, weaker immunity and more. Older adults are already vulnerable to illnesses, so compounded by low self-esteem, these issues can escalate.
Look at these tips for ways to improve older adults’ self-esteem.
Social Support System
Surround your older adults with supportive friends and family who can maintain strong, close relationships. Older adults with such networks tend to have higher self-esteem, less lonely and are thus happier.
No Negative Stereotypes
Unfortunately, aging isn’t viewed very positively in our society. On our part, we should maintain positivity when around our older loved ones. Show your appreciation for their help and contributions. Our aging loved ones experience more limitations, like hearing loss, or reduced stamina. Reassure them that none of these changes are anything to be shameful about.
Improve Strength and Balance
Physical strength and better balance can help our older loved ones to feel more confident when they move about in life. Get them to take classes such as tai chi nearby, or we can also go on walks with them regularly.
Seek their Advice
Do not forget or overlook the life experiences that older adults have. When we encounter problems in our lives, why not bring the issue to our older loved ones and get their help? This way, you will make them feel needed. Remember, keep their lives filled with purpose, to bolster their confidence.
Install tools and create spaces in their houses that allow older adults to maintain their independence. Small things like anti-slip rugs, or handrails in the toilet can help our older loved ones retain independence and boost their self-esteem.
Keep Abreast of News
Discuss current affairs with older adults and show that we value their ideas. While we may not always agree, the discussions will make them feel their opinions are valued.
Patience and understanding are crucial – issues we see as stubbornness or lack of understanding may trace back to health problems, so it’s good to treat our older loved ones with compassion and empathy. Afterall, we will all grow old one day.