How to Motivate an Elderly Person as a CDPAP Caregiver
Elderly people face myriad health challenges. And sometimes, they may develop a “what's the use?” mindset toward their health and exercise. As a CDPAP caregiver, you have an important role in motivating them to live a healthier life.
Read on as we take you through the tips on how to motivate an elderly person.
Tips to Motivate an Elderly Person
Encourage Few and Manageable Goals
Nobody is too old to set objectives in life. Consider having a discussion with the senior person about setting a couple of minor, achievable goals. Setting goals often brings a sense of purpose and something to look forward to. This will in turn motivate the elderly person to give their best to achieve them. You have an array of possibilities to conjure up. You just need to be a little creative.
Here's an example of a manageable goal: A caregiver set her elderly mother the goal of simply walking out to the mailbox to collect the mail. At first, they kept it simple, whereby she only needed to pick up the mail twice a week. Soon, she was doing it on a daily basis.
Encourage Affirming Self-identify
Before they became old, they were once young, energetic, and vibrant. Chances are, their lives are littered with past glories and adventures.
As a caregiver, you can encourage the elderly person to share their life stories. Show them some of their old photos. You can also ask about past adventures and accomplishments and watch their faces shine with excitement as they narrate their stories. A trip down the memory lane helps reaffirm their self-identity, importance, and accomplishments.
Technology can improve and enrich the life of an elderly person by establishing better interpersonal relationships. Of course, the major stumbling block is addressing the attitudes among seniors toward the usability and advantages of new technology.
Some lack the ability and enthusiasm to adjust to a shifting technological landscape. This is probably because they may feel anxious and scared by the idea of using new technologies.
You can teach the senior person how to use online social technology. This entails:
· Using email
· Using a smartphone
· Social media sites
· Online chatting
· Online video/voice calls
Social networking provides the elderly person with social capital. It is a wonderful supplement to face-to-face interactions, especially in the current world where people are always on the go. It affords the opportunity to bond with family and friends online. And they can also check in on older adults and evaluate their physical, psychological, and emotional wellbeing.
Encourage the Feeling of Usefulness
As seniors age, they may feel useless because they can't do much. As a caregiver, you need to make the elderly person feel that they are still an important member of the family. One way to do this is by seeking their advice on different matters. Allow them to air their opinion. This helps to alleviate the risk of loneliness and depression among seniors.
Apart from just listening to the elderly person, you must also show genuine interest in what they are saying. Reacting to what they are saying can show them that you value their input. Another tip to make an older adult feel useful is asking how his or her day is fairing. You can also have them take on creative projects like painting.
Health and Fitness
Fitness is closely linked to one's physical health. Routine exercise can help an elderly person improve their energy levels and mood and maintain a healthy heart.
Going from lack of exercise to practicing half an hour every day may feel taxing for some older adults. That's why you need to devise smaller, achievable fitness targets for the elderly person. For example, taking the stairs instead of an elevator wherever they go or going on a 15-minute walk every day in the evenings.
Consider mixing up the exercises to avoid boredom. Here are some creative fitness ideas that you can have them take part in:
· Taking a yoga class
· Playing golf
· Enrolling in a dance class
· Strolling around the mall
· Taking the dog for a walk
· Bike riding in the neighborhood
Elderly folks have more time on their hands and engage less with others compared to the average person. Taking part in volunteering activities is one way to kill time and give back to the community. Common types of volunteering activities for the elderly include:
· Teaching or tutoring
· Youth mentorship
· Food distribution
· Planting trees and cleaning the environment
The elderly person can enjoy their life as they age and feel useful by helping other needy people with small things. This sense of satisfaction derived from volunteering is important for older adults and helps them live longer.
More importantly, volunteering can get elderly persons outside their lonely homes, even if it's just for a few hours every week. This allows seniors to meet and interact with different people in the community.
As a caregiver, you may have tried applying the recommended tips above to your loved one but with limited success. Probably they still don't have a sense of purpose in life and remain depressed. Well, this is the right time to speak to their doctor.
When to Involve a Doctor
Here are some of the circumstances that call for a doctor's intervention:
· Medication: Part of the reason for their lack of motivation could be their medication. They could be experiencing side effects of a drug or failing to take prescriptions correctly.
· Underlying condition: They could also be having an underlying condition that's making them depressed. This could be anxiety or depression, which are often accompanied by ailments such as stroke, heart disease, and dementia. Either way, the doctor may help treat the underlying condition with proper medication.
· Medical advice: You can schedule three-way conservation involving you, the elderly person, and the doctor to explain the benefits of motivation and how to rise above motivation difficulties.
The Bottom Line
Knowing how to motivate elderly folks will help you to prolong the quality of life for your client or loved one. The abovementioned tips are a great place to start. You can also talk to a doctor to discuss any potential medical reasons for poor motivation.