What is it that gets you out of bed each morning? If you’re a member of the sandwich generation, providing care for both older and younger loved ones, your list is probably quite long! As the nest empties, however, it becomes vital to redefine our identity and learn new ways to bring meaning to each day.
The effects of continuing to live purposefully for a lifetime are even more far-reaching than we once believed. A recently available research study released in JAMA Psychiatry uncovered that seniors with a strong sense of purpose displayed more robust walking speeds and hand grips, which are two key determinants in how quickly we are aging.
The reason? Patrick Hill, assistant professor of psychological and brain studies at Washington University, explains, “Purposeful individuals tend to be less reactive to stressors and more engaged, generally, in their daily lives, which can promote cognitive and physical health.”
How Can You Help Cultivate Purpose for the Seniors You Love?
A feeling of purpose, of course, looks different for each person. A good place to begin is by making a list of what a senior loved one likes and what skills they have. Then think through ways these can be connected into a meaningful outlet. For example, perhaps a retired carpenter who loves animals could volunteer at the local pet rescue shelter, repairing or building a storage shed. An individual who enjoys reading and kids could volunteer at a local elementary school.
Even setting and achieving minor goals is incredibly helpful, or participating in simple acts of kindness: starting and maintaining an herb garden, baking cookies for the neighbors, taking a class, or taking care of the grandkids.
How Can Home Care Help?
One key way in-home care can help is by providing the motivation together with the means to cultivate and implement ideas for a more purposeful life. Our caregivers serve as companions for the individuals we serve. We get acquainted with each individual personally, learning about their likes, dislikes, and interests, supplying the springboard to brainstorming ideas for meaningful activities together.
We also offer transportation and accompaniment anywhere a senior would like to go, which makes it very easy to follow through and turn an idea into a reality.
Not just that, but it’s always more fun to attempt something new with a buddy by your side to cheer you on every step of the way. A caregiver from Generations at Home is the perfect support for seniors to offer the encouragement needed, along with a comprehensive variety of care services to help conquer any barriers to trying something new.
For further ideas and hands-on help with implementing them, reach out to Generations at Home at 727-940-3414. We’re always available to help!