What is it that gets you out of bed each and every morning? If you are part of the sandwich generation, caring for both younger and older loved ones, your list is probably quite extensive! As the nest empties, however, it becomes vital to redefine our identity for ourselves. To take it a step further, it’s important to learn how to foster a meaningful life for the seniors in our lives as well.
The impact of continuing to live purposefully for a lifetime are much more extensive than we previously understood. A recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry uncovered that older adults with a powerful sense of purpose demonstrated stronger hand grips and walking speeds, which are two main determinants in how quickly we are aging.
The reason why? Patrick Hill, assistant professor of psychological and brain studies at Washington University, explains, “Purposeful individuals tend to be less reactive to stressors and more engaged, generally, in their daily lives, which can promote cognitive and physical health.”
How Can You Help Cultivate a Meaningful Life for the Seniors You Love?
A feeling of purpose, of course, looks different for every individual. A great place to begin is by making a list of what the person likes and what skills they have. Then brainstorm ways these can be combined into a purposeful outlet. For example, maybe a retired carpenter who loves animals could volunteer at the local pet rescue shelter, building or repairing a storage shed. An individual who enjoys reading and kids could volunteer at a local elementary school.
Even setting and achieving small goals is incredibly helpful, or engaging in simple acts of kindness: starting and maintaining an herb garden, baking cookies for the neighbors, taking a course, or caring for the grandkids.
How Can Home Care Help?
One important way in-home care can help is by providing the motivation together with the means to create and implement ideas for a more purposeful life. Our caregivers serve as companions for the seniors we serve. We get acquainted with each individual personally, learning about their likes, dislikes, and interests, which provides the springboard to brainstorming ideas for meaningful activities together.
We also provide transportation and accompaniment anywhere a senior would like to go, which makes it very easy to follow through and transform an idea into a reality.
Not only that, but it is always more fun to try something new with a buddy by your side to cheer you on each step of the way. A caregiver from Amy’s Helping Hands is the ideal support for seniors to provide the encouragement needed, in conjunction with a comprehensive variety of care services to help alleviate any barriers to trying something new.