Retirement brings with it an enjoyable life of leisure—but also a dwindling sense of self-esteem. Elderly people are more likely to experience low self-esteem once they peak at a certain age. However, it is possible for families and caregivers to improve seniors’ overall self-esteem.
Why do seniors experience low self-esteem?
Studies show that self-esteem begins to decline between the ages of 60 and 70. Seniors’ self-esteem decreases in proportion to the unique life challenges that they face, such as the passing of loved ones, worsening physical and cognitive health and a seeming loss of control.
Additionally, older people are faced with the task of adjusting to life in retirement, which can bring on a new set of issues. Seniors are less productive, which also impacts self-esteem. Increasing loneliness and isolation due to various factors also contribute to low self-esteem.
For instance, seniors who are reluctant to drive due to poor vision and slower reflexes will be more or less housebound, which prevents them from visiting with friends or mingling with likeminded peers at social events. Immobile seniors also have a hard time venturing out of the home.
What is self-esteem?
Self-esteem is interchangeable with terms, like self-respect and self-worth. Self-esteem can fall at the low end of the spectrum (which results in destructive activities), or it may teeter on the high end (narcissism). Healthy self-esteem falls somewhere in the middle.
Psychologist Abraham Maslow concluded that esteem is derived from a person’s inner feelings and thoughts about oneself, as well as the esteem given by other people. Both are necessary to achieve self-actualization. Self-esteem, Maslow suggests, is a basic human motivation.
What are signs of healthy self-esteem?
A strong sense of self-esteem manifests as confidence and having a positive outlook on life. Seniors with healthy self-esteem are able to say no when they choose. Older adults are able to see their weaknesses and strengths and accept them. Seniors express their needs and avoid dwelling on the negative.
What are signs of low self-esteem?
Low self-esteem can result in a range of problems in the elderly, such as having a negative outlook on life and focusing on weaknesses. Seniors lacking self-esteem have a hard time saying no. They also fail to accept positive feedback and struggle with confidence.
Here are four tips to boost the self-esteem for your senior loved ones:
1.Develop Social Connections
Improving an elderly loved one’s quality of life requires helping them achieve greater self-esteem. Social connectedness helps seniors feel that they are a valued part of a group or social circle. Seniors with strong family connections and friendships report higher self-esteem and happiness.
Families who live a far distance from their elderly loved ones have the option to hire a caregiver to serve as a companion. While companion caregivers build relationships with care recipients, they also provide transportation to senior centers, where seniors can form bonds with like-minded peers.
Seniors who develop age-related physical or cognitive problems are likely to experience lower self-esteem, simply because they are no longer able to perform tasks independently. Being unable to drive or live alone, for example, seniors experience a perceived loss of control, capability and identity.
Modifying the home so that it is senior friendly is one way to combat the low self-esteem associated with declining capabilities. Smart homes are installed with features that are convenient for the older population and make it safer and easier to live and function independently at home.
Families may also help the senior focus on doing the tasks they are still able to do, rather than dwelling on what they can no longer perform. Professional caregivers, too, assist seniors by allowing them to independently accomplish tasks and supporting them whenever help is needed.
As it is during any age, like-minded peers are invaluable to a person’s sense of self-worth. Outside of families and friends, senior groups provide older people with a chance to socially connect. Groups that focus on a particular activity or hobby are especially helpful in improving self-esteem.
A senior who joins a bridge group, book club or knitting circle will be surrounded by people who can share similar experiences. Social circles filled with people with whom they can relate are important. Swapping stories and sharing experiences does wonders for uplifting a senior’s self-esteem.
Joining senior support groups is also beneficial for improving a senior’s self-esteem. Helpful groups in which seniors can both vent and learn include grief support groups, dementia-related support groups, addiction recovery support groups, chronic illness support groups and lifestyle changes support groups.
Seniors may have once enjoyed engaging in a hobby but have since stopped due to a health condition. Families and caregivers who encourage the senior to pick up the hobby again will promote a renewed sense of self-esteem and confidence in the elderly individual.
Companion caregivers are important in helping seniors restart old hobbies. Seniors who found joy in arts and crafts will once again feel delight when a caregiver joins them in scrapbooking. Simpler activities include caregivers watching a game of golf with a senior who is an avid golf fan.
Improving a senior’s self-esteem is a task that requires the help of family, friends and caregivers. When your elderly loved one could use a boost in confidence, turn to Assisting Hands Home Care for the most compassionate senior care in the area. Our caregivers promote dignity in seniors.
The companion care services provided by Assisting Hands Home Care are non-medical yet comprehensive in nature. Our elder care professionals’ daily responsibilities include meal preparation, grocery shopping, transportation to doctor’s offices, help with personal hygiene, running errands and light housekeeping.
Assisting Hands Home Care providers are licensed, bonded and insured, so that families and their elderly loved ones have maximum peace of mind. If your aging loved one lives in Lombard, Elmhurst, Villa Park, Itasca, Illinois, consult our reputable home care agency for high-quality elder care services. We offer a complimentary consultation.