Building self-confidence is commonly associated with adolescence. However, recent studies have shown that it is even more important for older adults as they approach their twilight years. Significant life changes can threaten their sense of control and beliefs.
With an increased level of self-confidence, one can delay the onset of physical health threats usually associated with aging. Happier and more confident seniors are also less likely to develop depression and other mental health problems. They are also more outgoing and look younger than their actual age.
Key to Healthy Aging
Life changes can be hard no matter how old you are. Older adults experience a number of transitions and changes that also make a lasting impact throughout their remaining years. With kids moving away, friends and partner dying, and other major life events, handling all these emotions can be overwhelming.
The intense emotions associated with life changes can send someone spiraling down to self-doubt, anxiety, and depression. But well-adjusted older adults understand that to age healthily, one has to learn how to continually reinvent one’s self as one passes through each landmark of life.
Being a child of an aging parent, it is our responsibility to see through it that our parents are well-adjusted to the various life changes they are facing. Help our parents discover new meaning in life as they learn to enjoy new things and accept irreversible changes.
Ways to Boost Self-Confidence in Seniors
Tip 1: Build a Social Connection
Having a wide and strong network of friends and close family is important, no matter what your age is. But as most parents grow older, they tend to recede into their cocoon as they see friends and loved ones die one by one. Others do too when they feel they are no longer significant.
To help fight this negative mentality, encourage your parents to go out and meet new people in the community. Frequently visit them as well or give them a call every day. Make your aging parents feel that they are surrounded by a supportive and loving family who only want what’s best for them.
Tip 2: Ask for Their Advice
No one wants to feel irrelevant, most especially elderly individuals. Now that they are in their twilight years, they also want to feel that they can contribute to something significant. Do simple things like engaging them in a conversation, asking for their advice, and taking them out for dinner or outing.
Our elderly parents need to be surrounded by family members and friends who enjoy talking and listening to them. Furthermore, taking an active interest in their lives benefits everyone. While you help your aging parents find a new purpose in their existence, you get to learn valuable insights on how to go about life.
Tip 3: Encourage Independence
If there is one thing that is extremely damaging to one’s self-confidence, it is losing one’s sense of independence. As our parents grow older, there are routines and tasks they could no longer do on their own. And most elderly do not want to admit that they need help in doing even simple tasks.
What we can do instead is foster freedom and autonomy in their daily living. Be proactive enough to make their home arrangement easily accessible to them. Install handrails in the bathroom, replace typical rugs with non-slip ones, and make sure items they need are just within reach.
Tip 4: Do a Makeover
Self-confidence also has something to do with our looks, particularly among women. Your parents will start to see noticeable physical changes in their bodies. Perhaps they have put on extra pounds, fine lines on the face become more pronounced, and they have more difficulty moving around.
Help your parents increase or maintain their high level of self-confidence by giving them a makeover. It does not have to be drastic. Help them find the look they are most comfortable with. Makeovers can be as simple as getting a new hairstyle or getting dental implants.
Tip 5: Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle
One myth about aging is that you will no longer feel good about your overall health and well-being anymore. While it is true that the physical changes one undergoes when aging is significant, it does not mean you no longer are capable of being active and healthy.
Encourage your parents to embrace a healthier and active lifestyle even when they are old. You may opt to enroll them in a local gym, or simply spend at least twice a week walking with them in the park. Also, help them develop healthier food habits now that their body has different nutrient needs.
Watching your parents as they age is not an easy thing to do. We are so used to seeing them strong and agile when they were younger. By following these suggestions, not only will you help your parents retain or regain their self-confidence, but you also make their life transition much easier.