Many seniors lose their self-esteem as they get older. Significant life changes can rock their feelings of control and confidence. Boosting the self-esteem of your mom can lead to living longer safely on her own and an overall greater feeling of happiness and well-being.
Here are seven ways to boost the self-esteem of an older parent:
- Social Connections. No matter your age, we all want to have strong friendships and close family. Studies show that seniors who are surrounded by supportive family and friends have higher self-esteem. Keeping these social connections strong is vital to their happiness.
- Squashing Negative Stereotypes. Society inundates us with negative messages and images about the aging process. Stay positive when you are around your loved one. Let them know you value their contributions and that you respect them. If they are self-conscious of their limitations, reassure them that their hearing loss or lack of stamina is nothing to be ashamed of. We all have our own limitations in life.
- Strength and Balance. If your mom is steady on her feet and less likely to fall, she will be able to feel more confident caring for herself and getting around. Encourage her to take balance classes or chair yoga at a local senior center or offer to walk regularly with her to keep up her strength. A decline in health and strength can easily lead to a lower self-esteem and a loss of confidence.
- Ask for Their Advice. Your older parent is a fountain of wisdom, experience, and advice. Ask them for their input or to help you work through a problem. They may have some good insight on everything from serious questions about relationships to more lighthearted issues like cooking, cleaning, or gardening tips. Being helpful and having a sense of purpose can really be a boost to their confidence.
- Make Their Home Accessible. Many times, a dip in self-esteem is the direct result of the loss of independence. Be proactive by installing handrails in the tub, checking that rugs don’t slip, keep frequently used items within easy reach, and make sure pathways in the house are clear for easy walking. Give them the tools they need to live safely in their home.
- Talk About Current Events. Get your dad’s viewpoint on the world today based on his personal experience. Showing value for his ideas and input can be a real boost to his confidence. You might not always agree but you can have respectful discussions.
- Be Compassionate. Try to be patient and understanding when interacting with a senior parent. Hearing issues can be misinterpreted as a lack of understanding or less stamina could be misconstrued as stubborn. They may have some limitations but always treat them with dignity and compassion.
Visit a local Aegis Living community to speak with one of our trained staff who can provide helpful insight into what to expect as your parent ages.