Jun 6, 2022 | Elder Care

By Diana (DeeDee) Bycoffe, RN, Nurse Care Manager

Throughout our lives, we have been encouraged to set goals.

Simple and short term, or more complicated and long term, all of us have all felt a sense of accomplishment when checking off the tasks completed. This sense of purpose is stimulating and important to our self-esteem.

As we transition to a later stage of aging, our goals and activities change, but it is still important to stay active and engaged in life.  Regular activity, social engagement, and cognitive training can all help prevent and/or slow the progression of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s and other dementia illnesses.  It is also good for cardiovascular, muscular, and mental health to participate in daily activities. 

If you are working with a senior the trick is to keep them motivated. Below are 7 ways to encourage motivation:

  1. Set a few, small, manageable goals with them. We tend to be more motivated when we are goal-oriented and once we attain a goal, we feel a sense of purpose and pride and are even more motivated! 
  2. We are all more likely to do something we enjoy. Spend some time getting to know what they like to do.  Maybe even speaking with a friend or family member who knows them well and can give some ideas.
  3. Be supportive. Seniors may have health, physical and mental issues that might make it difficult for them to perform the activity.  Supporting them in any way that you can and helping them gain confidence will help encourage participation.
  4. Look at their day and schedule the activity for them. This will give them something to look forward to and they will also not be able to turn it down for fear of not having enough time.
  5. Help them find a sense of purpose and usefulness. Encourage them to teach a craft that they do or volunteer.  Ask for their advice on a topic or pair them with someone they could mentor. Developing a sense of purpose helps them to feel independent.
  6. Get them to invite peers to do the activity with them. Having some friends to accompany them is a really good way to get them to participate. 
  7. Encourage technologies and safe social media “check-ins”. Technology can’t replace the emotional connection of in-person but can supplement.  Even something as simple as facetime from a cell phone or laptop for a few minutes with family or friends. 

People are social creatures. The ability to be with others and to accomplish individual tasks is important for healthy aging.

If you or someone you care about needs additional support to help cope, The Option Group is here to help. Please contact our professional care management team for assistance.