Have you ever woken up and thought, “It’s definitely going to be one of those days!” Maybe your alarm didn’t go off, the hot water heater decided to stop working, and the dog chewed up one of your most loved shoes overnight. Then consider if each day were “one of those days!” For a person living with a chronic disease or chronic illness (and that’s the majority of the elderly population), daily struggles and challenges can be a given.
Even so, there are several steps that older adults can take to realize and maintain a life of joy and happiness, even in the face of chronic illness. For example:
- Follow passions. Finding purpose and meaning in every day is extremely important – and achievable. Many older adults find fulfillment in assisting and encouraging other people. Others thrive on being lifelong learners. For some people it could mean documenting the past for the next generation. Brainstorm ideas until you arrive at one that ignites passion, and then make it a real possibility.
- Practice positivity. One easy way to quickly attain a more positive perspective on life is through journaling. Encourage your elder family members to begin each day by writing a list of everything they’re grateful for that morning, along with the seemingly ordinary: the smell of fresh coffee brewing, a dog curled up in a sunbeam, a scheduled lunch date with a relative. At the conclusion 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 outlined above can naturally bring about less negativity, but there are further steps that can be taken as well. For instance, permit breaks from tasks that create irritation, providing needed time to de-stress. Place the focus on dealing with tasks which can be accomplished successfully, and find an alternative solution for those that are much too challenging, such as delegating those tasks to another relative or friend, or engaging the services of a specialist.
- Leave the house. Having as active a lifestyle as possible outside the home is usually so refreshing for older adults. Help your elder loved ones go out for hair appointments, shopping excursions, visits with relatives, along with other fun outings, as much as they are comfortable. Even simply going outside and relaxing on the front porch when weather permits can substantially enhance someone’s mood and outlook.
For older adults who need long-term senior caregivers, our goal at JFS Care, a branch of Jewish Family Services in Santa Monica, is to provide exceptional care throughout Los Angeles County that leads to the best possible quality of life. Our highly-trained and knowledgeable caregivers provide cheerful companionship, stimulating activities, transportation, and much more. Contact us via email or give us a call at (213) 383-2273 or toll free at (855) 455-2273 and see the difference our in-home care services can make for your loved one! Click here to view our full service area.