Finding Happiness

How to Help Seniors Find Happiness

Studies show that isolation & loneliness are two of the main causes for senior adult depression. Learn how you can help.

Contribute to your aging parents’ joy & satisfaction with these simple ideas

We all want our parents to have happy and rewarding “golden years”. Though getting older typically involves more medical issues, depression is not an inevitable part of the aging process.[1] It has been reported that over 65 million seniors are struggling daily with depression in the U.S., the widespread commonality is an unfortunate reality we have to acknowledge but not accept.

Probably the hardest part about senior depression is that we sometimes have a feeling that they are not happy... but are just too busy or are just unsure of how to really help them. We get back to our daily routine and push it off till next time.

It’s really not that hard to have an impact on the happiness of a senior. Here’s some simple changes you can make today.

Understand What Makes Seniors Happy

When we are younger, we enjoy more extraordinary adventures and exotic trips because we can hold on to these memories for the rest of our lives. As we age, ordinary experiences are more valued[2] because they are already associated with our sense of self.

What this tells us is that seniors aren’t looking for wild getaways but interaction in their daily life. Having you by their side for appointments, their favorite television show or eating dinner means a lot more to them than you would think. This won’t uproot your schedule either!

Have you ever tried to force your mom or dad into something they didn’t want to do? Bet that was an experience!

From the first lesson, we need to understand that seniors might not want something new in their lives right away. But we also know that isolation and loneliness can cause depression.

If you bring up exercising or joining a local book club, you must remember that they have different concerns than just having fun:

  • getting ready before
  • transportation to and from the event
  • how they will feel afterwards (tired, aches, pain, etc.)
  • potential disruption of their daily medications, treatments and routine

With those in mind, here’s what you can do to help them get started and maybe even become comfortable enough to do it on their own:

  • Make it a bonding experience the first couple of times until you know they actually enjoy it
  • Offer to help them get ready and drive them to the event
  • Perform the “activity” by yourselves and then transition into social group

Not sure where to start?

  • Book Club        • Dancing        • Exercise Programs
  • Senior Center Activities

Make Sure They Have Continual Support

Are you available to provide the daily assistance seniors need to fully function? More importantly, are you prepared to handle the extra care they will need as they get older?

Letting someone else take care of your parents might seem scary at first but can quickly lead to a better life for your parents and you.

This can be a difficult conversation but reassuring your loved one that they will be able to choose the right companion and remain in control of the process may help. It is important to find the right match or fit for your parent’s personality. One suggestion is to find a more mature senior care provider that your parent can relate to. The right caregiver can quickly become a friend and that relationship enriches the lives of all those involved. This companion can assist in many ways, from doing their weekly shopping to keeping up with the house and reminding them to take their essential medications. When your parents are ready to get involved in outside activities, caregivers can help them to get ready, drive them to their destination, bring them home safely and prepare a nutritious hot meal.

Most importantly, caregivers should be kind, smiling, encouraging people that love working with seniors. The right person is key to helping them feel happy!