Strategies for Boosting a Senior’s Self-Esteem
Confidence supported by high self-esteem is a vital part of living a happy life and enjoying fulfilling relationships with others. New studies show that a positive sense of self-worth can even ward off some of the negative effects of aging. A higher self-esteem translates to real health benefits in everyone, including the elderly.
The studies found that lower self-esteem leads to increased cortisol levels in older men and women, resulting in the conclusion that high self-esteem provides seniors with a barrier against the negative health effects due to high amounts of cortisol. This is a hormone we secrete when we are stressed out. It helps our bodies use up stored energy reserves by boosting metabolism of fat, carbohydrates and protein, priming us for survival as part of the fight or flight response.
Cortisol secretion is certainly a normal response to physical and/or psychological stress, but if too much remains in your blood stream for too long, it can pose dangerous health consequences – mainly higher blood sugar levels, bone loss, memory loss, and decreased immune function.
Fortunately, there are ways older individuals can achieve higher and healthier levels of self-esteem. And their at home care givers and loved ones have a lot to do with it. Turns out, maintaining a positive feeling of self-worth is the key, points out Better Aging.
Tips to Boost Self-Esteem in Your Senior Loved One
- Seek out social connections: No matter what your age, those who have loving, supportive relationships with family and friends consistently report having higher self-esteem and overall happiness.
- Promote feelings of independence: One cause for a dip in self-esteem in aging adults is the loss of independence that comes with cognitive and physical decline. Perhaps your senior loved one was told they had to stop driving, or they have become home bound for health reasons. Do your part to give them choices and responsibilities in daily life so they feel they have retained some sense of independence.
- Ensure a healthy social life: Those with healthy relationships that double as a support structure can rely on this structure when feeling down. These people have higher levels of self-esteem than those who lack a social support system. Make sure you’re maintaining regular contact with others your own age, or, if you’re the family member caring for them, try to schedule outings and lunch dates for them so they can maintain that social contact.
- Maintain hobbies: Whether that’s scrapbooking, gardening, crafts, puzzles or being part of a book club, hobbies are a crucial part of our identity. That’s why hobbies play a big role in maintaining self-esteem. Keep up with them! This is where senior home care services and companion services can come in handy.
- Maintain good hygiene: Of course, keeping up with physical appearances also fuels self-esteem. Many seniors feel a lack of control over their appearance perhaps due to mobility issues. Caregivers: make sure your senior loved one is getting dressed every day so they aren’t sitting around in a bathrobe or housecoat all day long. Brush their hair, pick out a comfortable outfit, maybe put on a touch of lipstick. Even if they aren’t going out anywhere that day, the simple act of preparing for a fresh new day can give them a boost.
Self-esteem is an integral part of our mental health. Maintaining it is just as important as maintaining good physical health.
Contact Preferred HealthStaff
Part of our job here at Preferred HealthStaff is to ensure the seniors in our charge are happy and healthy. To learn more about what we are doing to boost your loved one’s self-esteem as part of our senior care services, please contact us toll free at 866-943-9791 or in Fairfield 717-642-8500.