Research shows that maintaining a positive attitude can boost immunity, lengthen one’s lifespan, and increase the overall quality of life. Of course, staying positive is often easier said than done, especially in a world where aging is often viewed in a negative light.

Seniors, in particular, often struggle to maintain a positive attitude as they age. Unfortunately, this can often lead to negative health effects. To help the senior in your life experience the benefits of a positive mindset, keep these four tips in mind.

1. Encourage IndependenceDecrease Senior Isolation

In one study, psychologists separated nursing home residents into two groups. The first group was able to choose houseplants to keep care for, was allowed to arrange the furniture in the room as they wished, and got to decide which nights they wanted to attend a movie. The second group had their furniture arranged for them, were told when to attend a movie, and had their plants chosen and cared for by a nurse.

Both the immediate and long-term results of the study showed that the group with more independence experienced significantly better physical and mental well-being, while those in the second group stayed the same or experienced a significant decrease in health.

As you can see, it’s essential for you to give the senior in your life opportunities to safely establish their independence. Invest in tools like shower chairs that allow them to safely perform daily tasks, and allow them to make choices for themselves as much as possible.

Additionally, encourage community involvement or service opportunities. This a good way to increase your loved one’s sense of purpose and give them a way to invest their time and attention in those around them.  

2. Provide Transportation Solutions

Many seniors face a decline in their driving abilities as they age. When they’re no longer able to come and go as they please, it’s easy for seniors to start to feel isolated and depressed.

To mitigate these feelings and encourage a positive outlook, it’s important to arrange alternative transportation for seniors so that they’re still able to get out and do the things they enjoy.

Some local senior centers offer shuttle services to help seniors get around and run errands or attend social events independently. Many states also give seniors a discount on public transportation passes. In addition to safe transportation options, make sure your loved one is using assistive devices such as walkers, wheelchairs, or canes as needed.

3. Create Opportunities for Connection

If your local senior center or religious community hosts regular social activities for seniors, encourage your parent or loved one to attend.Staff helps a client paint her project

Arrange for those who live close to drop by once or twice a week to check in and visit. For those who live far away, plan reunions or events so everyone can get together. It’s much easier for seniors to stay positive when they’re surrounded by those they love.

In addition to in-person connection, social media and live video chat services like Skype can also be beneficial for seniors who want to stay in touch with friends and family.

4. Make Sure You Stay Positive, Too

Finally, if you want your parent or loved one to stay positive, it’s important for you to stay positive, too.

It’s hard for seniors to maintain a positive attitude if they feel like they’re a burden on their loved ones. Take time to enjoy the things you love and utilize others’ help to schedule in some ‘you time’. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or isolated yourself, try attending a caregiver support group. It may be just what you need to lift yourself back up and restore your sense of connection. Remember to make sure you let your loved one know you’re happy to be of service, and that you just need some time to take care of yourself as well.

These small changes can make a big difference seniors’ attitudes and will make it easier for them to be more positive themselves.

Contributed by Vive Health

Four Ways to Help Seniors Stay Positive as They Age