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Helping Create a Sense of Purpose in Older Adults

Unfortunately, many seniors have lost their sense of purpose in their daily lives. After years of striving to meet their goals, support their families, and save for retirement, they find themselves wondering, What’s the point? Researchers have confirmed that many seniors today are depressed and unable to enjoy their golden years.

There’s a strong belief that when you work hard, you deserve to retire. However, having a sense of purpose is connected with better cognitive longevity and physical health. So how can seniors believe they are doing something that makes life matter? Finding your niche in retirement is crucial in preventing memory decline and dementia.

Why Having a Sense of Purpose is Crucial for Seniors?

Having a sense of purpose rates high on the list of priorities for enjoying physical and mental health in the senior years. It’s more than just being happy, satisfied, or having a good quality of life. While these factors are all essential, finding the critical reason why you wake up every morning can change every aspect of life.

A sense of purpose has been connected to better health and well-being in seniors. They wonder what is left after raising children has been fulfilled and their career is left behind. However, seniors who volunteer to participate in activities with friends or family are physically and mentally stable. Therefore, it is crucial as a caregiver to be aware of your loved person’s sense of purpose.

Significant Benefits of Seniors with a Sense of Purpose

Seniors with no sense of purpose are highly likely to experience physical or cognitive limitations. Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), dementia, and even Alzheimer’s are more prevalent in older adults with no sense of purpose. Cognitive changes can challenge any sense of purpose the senior has. The following benefits are significant to wellness and finding a sense of purpose in life.

  • An active brain prevents memory loss. Seniors who wake up with something they need to achieve, projects that need to be finished, or volunteer opportunities needing to be fulfilled keep the brain active and functioning. In addition, hobbies and problem-solving situations that require critical thinking and short-term memory skills help the brain to remain stimulated and in good working order. This research reinforces the need for a sense of purpose to enhance good brain health.
  • Lowers the risk of heart disease. A sense of purpose ensures a healthy lifestyle, including nutritious meals and regular exercise. A healthy lifestyle is less stressful and prevents the development of heart disease, stroke, and other physical ailments such as type two diabetes. In addition, regular exercise promotes the production of endorphins that fight stress hormones, lessening anxiety and high blood pressure.
  • Increases longevity and independence and slows the aging process. A strong sense of purpose leads to strength in movement, better balance, and control. These factors often indicate accidents, loss of motion, and independence. Participating in a healthy lifestyle with other seniors is incredibly beneficial. This could take some encouragement from loved ones for those who are struggling.

Helping Seniors Find Purpose and Meaning in Life

Researchers who study the habits of seniors have suggested that seniors with a higher sense of purpose enjoy a better quality of life than those who don’t.

If your loved one finds no joy in life, you can make small changes for significant results. In most cases, mental health needs to be evaluated and addressed. It is essential to remain respectful, listen to their thoughts and concerns, and work gently towards small goals.

A medical assessment or exam from the primary care provider is an excellent foundation to start with. Sometimes physical illnesses, limited mobility, and depression can cause a lack of motivation or loss of a sense of purpose. Senior communities often have social workers, life skills counselors, and engagement specialists who can advise on improving seniors’ living environments. By the same measure, home health care can help instill positive feelings and increase optimism.

Implementing Change to Form a Strong Sense of Purpose

The following suggestions can seem simple, but it is crucial not to overwhelm your senior parent or friend. Pick and choose your battles for implementing changes. Always be loving, encouraging, and helpful without judgment or being demanding.

  • Engage in enjoyable activities
  • Create
  • Develop a daily practice
  • Learn new things by cultivating curiosity
  • Join a group
  • Become a part of something
  • Become and stay socially active
  • Change up the routine
  • Travel and explore

In some cases, it doesn’t take much to instill a feeling of longing, curiosity, or hope. Write down wish lists, and help your senior make a vision board or a bucket list. Always remind them that forming their sense of purpose is broadening their horizons and awakening lost excitement. Listen and encourage by finding resources they can utilize efficiently and educational resources that will prove fruitful.

Find Help with your Senior Loved One in Tennessee

If you are living in Tennessee and are concerned with your loved one’s quality of life, Luxury Home Care in Nashville can help. Our professionals are familiar with seniors who need help making positive changes, and our Senior Resources are available to anyone.

We can provide the first small step needed to build the foundations of a strong sense of purpose. Contact us to discuss your options.

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