Your aging family member is going to face multiple challenges as she grows older. How she manages her reactions to those challenges can make all the difference.
Start a Gratitude Practice Together
When your senior family member is able to focus on what she’s grateful for, it can help to shift the focus from some of the things that are causing her to experience less positive feelings. Keeping a gratitude journal is much easier than it sounds. Pick a small notebook or even just a piece of paper and take the time each day to write down something that you’re both grateful to have in your life.
Help Her Express Her Feelings
Some elderly family members have spent a majority of their lives believing that it was better to ignore or stuff their emotions than it was to express them. The problem with that line of thinking is that those feelings don’t just go away. They’ll still come out and likely when your aging adult is least prepared to deal with them. Help your elderly family member learn how to express her feelings when she’s feeling them. Counseling can help; especially if this is a lesson you’re both having trouble with.
Practice Acceptance Together
Another aspect of life challenges that can be difficult to manage is that there are issues and situations that are beyond your control and beyond your aging adult’s control. When you and she fight against that truth, it creates bigger problems for you. Learning to accept that there are things you can’t control or change is difficult, but it’s part of the process.
Figure out One Small Action that Makes a Difference
In almost every situation, there’s one small action that can make a bit of a difference. This doesn’t mean that you’re changing or controlling the situation. Instead, there’s an action that you or your elderly family member can take in that moment to help you to at least feel better. It might mean making a list of next steps or even simply taking a few minutes to gripe and then leaning into acceptance. The small action is something that allows you to move beyond that moment.
Senior care providers understand the kinds of challenges that your elderly family member faces every day. They can help her to learn how to manage those challenges gracefully.