As many people begin to get older, their self-esteem may worsen for a variety of reasons. For one, sudden life changes and loss of physical abilities may aversively impact their confidence, causing them to feel like they are losing control. Retirement from meaningful work and loss of steady income may also make them feel less independent. In addition, decreasing physical health can also take a toll on one’s body, causing further self-image issues. However, it is important to help boost mature adults’ self-esteem, seeing as studies have shown that self-esteem is linked to overall health and mental well-being. Thus, we will elaborate on how you can help bolster your loved one’s self-image while giving them a renewed sense of purpose.
Having a Good Social Network
First and foremost, regardless of one’s age, having meaningful connections and relationships is important. Having a close-knit group of friends and loved ones has been shown to result in self-esteem. Sadly, many older adults suffer from loneliness and feelings of isolation. Thus, if you feel like your loved one could do more socializing, you can consider a retirement community program where there are fellow like-minded individuals of similar age groups they can get to know of.
Eradicating Negative Stereotypes
Societal standards and beliefs often flood us all with negative messages and unrealistic expectations about what the aging process ought to be like. Loss of appetite, energy or stamina, as well as weight gain or loss, is natural, and you should actively take steps to let them know so. When around your loved ones, make a conscious effort to remain positive and let them feel loved and appreciated. Reassure them about anything they may feel self-conscious about. It is key to make them feel respected and valued to further boost their self-esteem while assuring them that their limitations are nothing to be ashamed of.
Allow Them to Feel Independent
Oftentimes, our loved ones’ self-esteem drops due to the accompanying loss of freedom and independence that comes with old age. Help them feel more mobile and capable by ensuring their home is accessible. Install handrails by toilets and shower areas to help them move about alone, purchase anti-slip rugs and mats, make clearly visible pathways, and put things in places that are easy to reach. Allowing them to feel safe and capable in their own home will help them feel more independent.
Help Them Keep Up to Date on Current Events
Regularly chatting with your loved ones about current world events and local news can show that you value and care about their personal experiences and opinions. This can be a real confidence booster for them! Treating them with respect and dignity is a great way to increase their self-esteem.
All in all, remember to be compassionate, patient and understanding when interacting and communicating with your loved ones. If you find yourself struggling as a caregiver, you can transition them to a retirement community that has many amenities and programs that are sure to keep them active and engaged.