They say there is always something to be grateful for, and this time of the year, more than any other, drives home the desire for us to express our gratitude. Nevertheless, feeling thankful, especially for aging parents, can be challenging in the middle of the difficulties of growing older, such as chronic health issues, mobility issues, cognitive concerns, lost loved ones, and so much more.
It’s important for us to support our older loved ones who might feel anything but thankful to shift their attention to appreciation, as research has shown the following advantages of thankfulness for senior health and wellbeing:
- Increased physical and psychological health
- Improved sleeping habits
- Strengthened relationships
- Decreased aggression
- A boost in self-esteem
- Increased resilience and mental strength
- And numerous others
These guidelines can foster a brighter outlook – for the seniors you love, as well as yourself:
- Thankful breathing. Settle into a quiet, relaxing location, close your eyes, and take ten deep, cleansing breaths. While you exhale each breath, think to yourself a simple phrase of gratitude, such as “thank you.” This technique helps reduce heart rate and blood pressure, relaxing both mind and body.
- Journaling. Each day, select 3 things – even the tiniest of things – for which you’re grateful, and document them in a diary or journal. It can be as simple as a hot cup of coffee, a phone call from a good friend, and the soft rainfall. Read back through your entries on a frequent basis.
- Finding surprises. Seek out something in your immediate environment that perhaps you hadn’t noticed before, or that you’re seeing for the first time in a different way. Has a new variety of bird come to your bird feeder this morning? Are you able to pick out a well-liked childhood toy in the background of a family photo?
- Engaging sensory input. Find a focal point that engages each of your senses, and take the time to appreciate every one. Move outside to feel and smell the fresh, brisk air of fall. Relish a bite of hot apple pie. Gaze at the morning sunrise. Turn on a favorite song (and sing along!)
Compassionate Nursing Services, St. Louis home care providers, is always readily available to help brighten each and every day for senior loved ones and to provide plenty of reasons for gratitude! Our thoroughly trained and experienced caregivers make the perfect companion to engage in fun activities, conversations, and excursions, and are here to assist with a wide range of in-home care services such as planning and preparing delicious meals, ensuring the house is tidy and well organized, running errands, helping with personal care needs, and so much more. Email or call us at 314-432-4312 for a free in-home consultation or for additional resources that can help improve total wellbeing for a senior you love.