While medical advances and higher standards of living are extending the life of many seniors, caring for this generation, as well as the next, will require encouragement and motivation for both the senior and caregiver. This article will go over a few areas of encouragement and motivation while avoiding caregiver burnout.
Create manageable short term goals – Goals create a sense of purpose and pride once accomplished. With encouragement during the process of completing the goal, can install a healthy level of motivation. After the goal is completed, the caregiver should acknowledge and compliment on a job well done. This can make their day if it was a difficult task and the caregiver can feel pride in helping them accomplish the task. Example – low impact exercising, craft or hobby, painting, taking medication or eating a meal they aren’t fond of to name a few short term goals. Alway monitor the goals as it will depend on their health and lifestyle on what some seniors can realistically accomplish.
Asking the Senior to recount past positive memories or events – Caregivers spend a lot of time getting to know their senior by helping with daily tasks. They become a friend, confidant and companion. Encouraging to discuss past positive events helps to relive happy memories and feel relevant in the world. This can affirm a positive self-identity and build a strong rapport with their caregiver. Seniors love to recount past events as learning lessons to the younger generation. Ask them to share pictures or memory objects as it takes them down memory lane. Most seniors complain their short term memory is fuzzy while their long term memory feels as if it happened yesterday. Take the time to listen and acknowledge the adventures they experienced. This can help motivate the senior and caregiver if they are going through a difficult time of transition. Conversations where the caregiver discussing topics and asking their thoughts can make the senior feel appreciated and a mentor.
Activity Tip – If the senior is fond of writing, ask them to keep a biography journal as a memory enhancement tool. This can be a fun activity to engage their past memories and can be therapeutic if some memories were not positive but used as learning lessons for future generations.
Motivate through useful task completion – Encouraging seniors by completing small tasks can help seniors feel more independent. A caregiver will learn and understand their strengths and weaknesses and help motivate in appropriate ways. An example – Find a small projects or task that they can be in charge of. This can help them feel a sense of accomplishment and independence.
Encourage positive coping strategies – Seniors have lived a full life of ups and downs, positive events and struggles. They wouldn’t have gotten to the age they were if they didn’t have a sense of strong coping strategies. However, as one ages, new challenges arise and adaptability can become more difficult. This can be due to cognitive or physical limitations plainly due to their age. This can be troublesome and new anxieties form where they feel not in control as they once did. Caregivers can facilitate new coping strategies by motivating and encouraging through breaking down tasks into smaller projects, tasks or decisions so it doesn’t appear as overwhelming. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses can help to create realistic goals and alternative options to help reach the end goal.
If you are interested in learning more on how to prevent caregiver burnout, check out our article 10 Tips on How to Prevent Caregiver Burnout and the following links below!
- Set goals, expectations and know your limits.
- Understand the strength & limits of your patient.
- Stay organized & Maintain a Balanced Schedule.
- Engage in daily activities to promote health & wellness.
- Eat healthy, maintain mindfulness, & engage in good sleep habits.
- Find time for Self-Care.
- Take a daily inventory of your feelings, accept and release.
- Know your Community Resources.
- Find a Support Group.
- Ask for Help