- Pursue passions. Seeking purpose and meaning in each day is essential – and possible. Many seniors uncover fulfillment in helping and supporting other people. Others thrive on being lifelong learners. For some it could mean documenting earlier times for the following generation. Brainstorm ideas until you come upon one that sparks passion, and then make it a reality.
- Practice positivity. One great way to quickly attain a more positive take on life is by journaling. Encourage your senior family members to start each day by writing a summary of everything they are thankful for that morning, including the relatively mundane: the smell of fresh coffee brewing, a cat curled up in a sunbeam, a planned lunch date with a friend. At the end of each week, sit together and read back through the earlier entries for a quick and practical pick-me-up.
- Steer clear of negativity. Including a measure of positivity as described above can naturally result in reduced negativity, but there are additional measures which can be undertaken as well. For instance, provide for breaks from activities that induce aggravation, allowing for needed time to de-stress. Place the emphasis on undertaking tasks that can be executed successfully, and find an alternative solution for those that are too challenging, such as assigning those tasks to another family member or friend, or engaging the services of an expert.
- Get out of the house. Having as active a lifestyle as possible outside of the home can be refreshing for older adults. Help elder loved ones go out for hair appointments, shopping trips, visits with friends, and other fun outings, as much as they are comfortable. Even simply going outdoors and relaxing on the front porch when weather allows can significantly elevate someone’s mood and outlook.
Have you ever started your day and thought, “It’s likely to be one of those days!” Perhaps your alarm didn’t go off, the hot water heater decided to quit working, and the dog chewed up one of your favorite shoes overnight. Now envision if every day were “one of those days!” For an individual coping with a chronic illness (and that’s much of the senior population), daily struggles and challenges can be a given. Yet there are numerous steps that older adults can take to find and maintain a life of joy, even in the face of chronic illness. For example: