What exactly is it that gets you up out of bed every morning? If you’re part of the sandwich generation, caring for both younger and older loved ones, your list is likely quite extensive! As the nest empties, however, it becomes crucial to redefine our identity and learn new ways to bring meaning to every day.
The effects of ensuring seniors build a strong sense of purpose and maintain it for a lifetime are much more extensive than we previously thought. A recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry revealed that seniors with a strong feeling of purpose displayed stronger walking speeds and hand grips, which are two crucial determinants in how rapidly we’re aging.
The reason? Patrick Hill, assistant professor of psychological and brain studies at Washington University, states, “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 Seniors Build a Strong Sense of Purpose?
A sense of purpose, without a doubt, looks different for every individual. A great starting point is by creating a list of what a senior loved one enjoys and what skills they have. Then brainstorm ways these can be combined into a purposeful outlet. For example, perhaps a retired carpenter who loves animals could volunteer at the local pet rescue shelter, building or repairing a storage shed. Somebody who enjoys reading and children could host a weekly story time at the library.
Even setting and achieving small goals is incredibly helpful, or participating in simple acts of kindness: starting and maintaining an herb garden, baking cookies for the neighbors, taking a course, taking care of the grandchildren.
How Can Home Care Help?
One key way in-home care can help is by providing the inspiration and the means to cultivate and carry out ideas for a more purposeful life. Our caregivers make great companions for the older adults we serve. We get to know every individual personally, learning about their interests, likes, and dislikes, supplying the springboard to brainstorming ideas for meaningful activities together.
We also provide transportation and accompaniment anywhere an individual would like to go, which makes it easy to follow through and turn an idea into a reality.
Not only that, but it’s 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 The Care Company is the perfect support for older adults to offer the encouragement needed, while also able to provide a full range of care services to help conquer any barriers to trying something new.
For further ideas and hands-on assistance with implementing them, reach out to The Care Company at (416) 422-2273. We are always here to help!