When it comes to the health of our seniors, there’s something we often neglect — their emotional well-being. Everybody has their own emotional needs, but that doesn’t mean we always know how to meet them.
There are three important things to ensuring that seniors are emotionally fulfilled — security, human connection, and autonomy. And by taking the time to reach out and focus on these three things, you can make a large difference to the seniors in your life.
To feel included is an incredible thing. Making sure that your loved ones are surrounded by people who care, like the staff at Merryvale Assisted Living, is an excellent way to take care of their emotional needs.
If you’re in Oxford, reach out to us so we can answer any questions you may have!
What are the Emotional Needs of the Elderly?
There are three important factors when it comes to the emotional needs of our seniors.
We’re all worried about our security in life. This doesn’t just mean how safe we are from outside threats; there are so many different things that can affect us in so many small ways.
For example, if somebody’s at risk of falling and hurting themselves, that’s one more little thing they have to account for during their day. But by having an on-call medical assistant, or a medical alert device, this fear can be easily addressed.
Little things, like helping them keep their hallways and walkways clean, can help make sure their home is as safe as possible as well.
If there’s a senior in your life who lives in a particularly worse neighborhood, you can also help them look into alarm systems and extra locks for the door. It’s vital to feel safe in your own home!
By taking proactive steps to make sure that the seniors in your life are as safe as possible, you’ll take some stress off their plate and make sure that they feel valued!
Humans are social creatures by nature. We all crave emotional connection and a social aspect in our lives, and this becomes significantly more important as we get older.
After COVID-19, it’s been reported that 56% of seniors feel disconnected from the world around them. Since isolation can be extremely detrimental to even your physical health, it’s more important than ever to reach out to the seniors in your life and make sure that they feel heard.
Doing little things to help them feel like a part of the community around them can go a long way. If they live at an assisted living facility, see if there are events that they can participate in. Assisted living homes or retirement homes often host different events, game nights, or social gatherings to make sure that their residents can build and develop relationships with the people around them.
If they have a certain hobby, passion, or even religion that’s extremely important to them, see if there are groups in the area about this. If they love to read but don’t have anybody to talk about this with, look for book clubs that meet, or ask around and see if there’s anybody that would love a good book recommendation.
It’s important as well to have a sense of purpose in life. If there’s a certain cause or charity you know that this person cares for deeply, consider reaching out and seeing if they need volunteers! Volunteering is an excellent way to feel like you’re contributing to something larger than yourself, and it can be a fun way to meet new people while being productive.
Encouraging the people in your life to build and develop friendships and relationships with the people that surround them is an excellent way to make sure they keep a human connection with the world around them.
An important thing to remember when speaking with an elder in your life is this: they have been independent for the majority of their life. They’re used to a certain way of living, and no matter how adaptable they may be as a person, it’s an extremely frustrating step to lose your independence.
It’s essential to remember that at the end of the day, you want the people in your life to have the best quality of life possible. Everybody deserves privacy, respect, and care.
There are many different things you can do to ensure that seniors in your life retain as much autonomy as possible.
Some of these things are small. If they’re comfortable dressing or bathing themselves, don’t impose. If there’s no risk, there’s no reason to insist on doing every little thing for them.
Are they comfortable cooking, or buying groceries for themselves? Do they have a daily routine they follow to keep a sense of normalcy? These are good questions to ask them. Find out what they can do for themselves and what they think they need help with, and be sure to be respectful.
There are larger things you can do to ensure they retain as much autonomy as they need.
If your loved one has lived in their home for a long time and doesn’t need to be moved to a facility, see what they need help with around the house. Do they like to garden, or work in their garage on projects?
See if you can help with these hobbies and make it easier for them. Maybe they love to do woodworking in the garage, but can’t go get lumber. Maybe they love to garden, but can’t move a wheelbarrow around the yard. Be respectful, and don’t be overbearing.
Remember that the more respect you show them, the more respected they will feel!
What I can Do to Meet a Senior’s Emotional Needs?
At the end of the day, it’s important that you let them know that you value them as a person. By making sure they’re safe and healthy, you’re already helping improve their quality of life.
Remember that one person can’t do everything — it helps to make sure there are people around the seniors in your life that go above and beyond to make sure their emotional needs are well-met. If you’re in the Oxford area and in need of an assisted living facility for you or someone in your life, reach out to Merryvale Assisted Living and book a tour today!