Issues with self-esteem are most commonly observed in the teenage demographic, but recent research is beginning to note increased incidences of poor self-esteem among the elderly. With age, seniors undergo many changes to their bodies and minds, affecting both their appearance and abilities. These changes can give rise to negative emotions, impacting how seniors perceive themselves. Here are a few of the most common self-esteem issues aging adults experience.
Issues with Body Image
Skin loses elasticity with age, fat composition increases, and hair typically turns gray and gets thinner. For many seniors, these dramatic changes in appearance can leave them with negative feelings. Fortunately, while these changes rely heavily on genetics, lifestyle factors play a role as well. Abstaining from cigarette smoking, eating healthy foods, limiting alcohol intake, and making other positive lifestyle changes can delay and even reverse the effects of normal aging on appearance. Focusing on positive attributes of the body can also promote a healthier self-image.
Low self-esteem can result in mental, emotional, and physical challenges for aging adults, but seniors don’t have to manage them alone. In Huntsville, at-home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.
Decreased Physical Abilities
Seniors may feel bad if they’re unable to do certain activities for themselves. Having to rely on other people for some or all of their care may not only be perceived as embarrassing but may also contribute to issues with self-esteem. To minimize feelings of incompetence or worthlessness, allow your loved one to do as much as possible independently. You may even want to consider hiring a caregiver to assist with daily activities. A caregiver will ensure your loved one’s safety while promoting the optimal level of independence he or she is able to handle.
Even if your loved one has a severely debilitating health condition, it’s a good idea for him or her to maintain as much independence as possible. Many seniors get a sense of pride and confidence from being able to take care of themselves. Encouraging your loved one to do as much as possible independently could protect his or her self-confidence and dignity, which is important because a loss of self-esteem can lead to depression and other emotional health conditions.
When considering elderly home care, families should make sure their senior loved ones have the resources they need to maintain their independence and remain healthy. Trusted in-home care professionals can assist seniors with daily tasks like cooking, bathing, and exercise, and they can also encourage them to focus on healthier lifestyle habits.
Changes in Cognition
Changes in cognition at any level can affect how seniors feel about themselves. This may be in part due to the negative stereotypes that portray seniors as being senile or unintelligent when they experience normal age-related episodes of minor forgetfulness. Family members can provide support by remaining patient with their loved ones and reassuring them that everyone forgets sometimes.
Seniors in the early stages of dementia can also experience a lower sense of self-esteem, especially those in the early stages who recognize their memory is no longer what it once was. For seniors living with dementia, working with dementia care specialists may be a good way to promote positive feelings. Trained specialists know how to address dementia symptoms and work with older adults to create regular routines and foster bonds of trust to ease seniors’ anxieties.
Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Huntsville families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life. For more information about our flexible, customizable home care plans, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (256) 716-9940.