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Emotional Well-being: Supporting Seniors Through Major Life Changes

Going through changes and experiencing new (sometimes unforeseeable) situations is a common occurrence throughout everyone’s journey in life.  Nevertheless, just because it is common does not mean that it is easy to live through.  This is especially true for those in their golden years.

While it’s pertinent to be concerned with taking care of one’s physical health, a person’s emotional well-being also needs to be a priority.  They are often tied together in more ways than we realize.  The following will take a look at the overall importance of supporting seniors through major life changes and how to accomplish this.

Types of Life Changes

It’s necessary to understand that while we are discussing major life changes, how one defines “major” is also subjective. Typically, these changes cause components of day-to-day living to considerably alter.  Understandably, such changes may lead to feelings of anxiety, stress, sadness, and isolation.

Some of the most common life changes revolve around:

If any of the aforementioned life changes occur, there may not always be an ample amount of time to prepare the individual in question accordingly beforehand.  (For example, a sudden loss in the family that causes living arrangements to change quickly).  

No matter the timing or the circumstances, a proper amount of respect must be given to all those involved throughout the entire process.

We all hope for as smooth of a transition as possible.  The goal is to limit as much confusion as possible.  Depending on the clarity of the situation, the motives behind it can be misinterpreted, resulting in more negative feelings.  Therefore, it is critical to be proactive and efficient to offer the appropriate, most beneficial support promptly.  

It may not be easy and those providing the support may be met with resistance.  However, with patience and the aid of professionals, everyone can rest assured that their loved one is safe and getting the care that is required.  

Supporting seniors through such big changes can be done in a few ways.  For example, by enforcing a few healthy habits and going through some trial and error, if need be.  These habits may include but are not limited to the following:

Creating a Routine

At the very minimum, every human on the planet knows what it’s like to go through a rough patch.  For many, going through such a difficult season in life may cause them to stray from their routines.  

From sleeping too much (or too little) and noticeable changes in their appetite/basic hygiene to withdrawing from the hobbies and activities they once loved, it may happen gradually or abruptly.  Regardless of how it happens, it is a sign that they are going through a hard time and can use some extra support.

Depending on the severity of the situation, it is advised to encourage them to stick to a schedule. At least, to try as best as possible.  Filling their days with a good balance of productivity and rest ensures that they are keeping their minds active and therefore nourished.  Staying on a routine will help to provide stability and something that they can grow to depend on.

Encouraging Social Interaction

Another form of support to promote emotional well-being is to experience regular social interaction.  According to Harvard Health, “Socializing can stimulate attention and memory, and help to strengthen neural networks. You may just be laughing and talking, but your brain is hard at work. This increase in mental activity pays off over time”.  This shows that even just a little bit of time communicating with others can go a long way.

If interacting with others seems to be out of the question- perhaps due to where the person is emotionally and/or physically- it may be time for a professional to intervene.  Even if it’s for a short amount of time; there is nothing wrong with needing a bit of help.  

As demonstrated in this article, there are quite a few ways that we can do our part to support the emotional well-being of seniors during the bigger transitions in their lives.

Additionally, it should be noted that this doesn’t need to occur only when they are going through a major change.  Everyone needs to know about the resources that are available for these scenarios.  At the same time, it is a good reminder to remain conscious of how you treat everyone, always.  As the saying goes, “You never know what someone else is going through”.

Are you or a loved one are about to embark on a new chapter in your life? Do you need some extra support? Contact Alivio, today.  We are dedicated to ethical practices and inclusivity, while also recognizing how important this transition is to you and your loved ones.  We promise to handle each client’s journey with the utmost integrity and compassion.