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Seniors and Self-Esteem

Part 1 Positive Aging


Health News from Senior Healthcare Advisors


by Dr. Marilyn B. Field




People are troubled by low self-esteem at all ages. When you lack confidence in yourself, you may avoid trying new things, meeting new people, and you can fall into a habit of negative thinking. This can be especially challenging in your later years as this is a time where you should be enjoying your life to the max. Low self-esteem can affect your mental health as well as your overall health and wellness.

Low self-esteem is all too common in the senior population. Some seniors begin to lose their self-confidence because their physical appearance has changed. Others struggle with a lack of self-esteem due to mobility issues, loss of hearing, and other health problems. Sometimes, seniors' self-esteem declines because they are socially isolated and feel disconnected from the rest of the world.


While some people may be prone to issues with their self-esteem, anyone can boost their self-esteem by making some easy, yet impactful lifestyle changes. These changes don’t have to happen overnight, instead, you can take baby steps to gradually raise your self-esteem until you regain your confidence.

Here are some helpful tips on how to increase your confidence and boost your self-esteem:


1. MAINTAIN GOOD HYGIENE

Everyday activities can become increasingly more difficult as we age. For many older adults, good personal hygiene can be hindered by mobility issues or a sheer lack of energy. Dementia, isolation, depression, medication side effects, or fear of falling can all be reasons for seniors to begin to neglect their personal hygiene and grooming. It comes down to when you don’t feel good about your appearance, you won't feel so good about yourself.


Establishing a daily hygiene routine can help you to get into the habit of bathing/showering, brushing your teeth, combing your hair, etc. Help yourself by making it just an ordinary part of your day, rather than a big chore. It is understandable why you may feel it is a chore. Seniors with chronic pain and weakness can get winded just getting in and out of a shower or bath tub. Shower chairs and safety bars are incredibly important. Try putting on your favorite music, and have comfortable clothes waiting for you as soon as you get out. Throw a towel in the dryer so that it is warm when you step out of the shower.


2. KEEP ACTIVE

Staying active is crucial to maintaining your overall health and wellness, and for seniors it is even more important. While you may be concerned about exercising and the potential for injury, an active lifestyle far outweighs the risks and will give your self-esteem a much needed boost.


Staying active will also lower your anxiety level and help prevent depression. It will improve your self-image and make you feel good about participating in life. It is also a great way to keep a social life. Call Senior Healthcare Advisors at 855-824-6618 TTY/711 to see if you have coverage for one of the many Senior exercise programs, such as Silver Sneakers. Making social connections can increase your motivation and remind you that you are still a fun-loving and good friend.


The human body is an amazing and fascinating organism that functions best when walking is part of our everyday exercise routine. In a very short time, walking enhances your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being and boosts your metabolism. But, that's not all. Walking also helps lower your potential for anxiety and depression while increasing your self-esteem!


3. SPEND TIME WITH FRIENDS

Friends can always make you feel better. They are there to remind you of your value and let you know they enjoy spending time with you. If your circle of close friends has dwindled over the years, go out and join a card club, chair-yoga group, or any other type of social group. Get better acquainted with your neighbors, or find other ways to have meaningful social interactions. You are never too old to make new friends.


4. DRESS IN CLOTHES YOU LOVE

Some seniors think they are past the age of enjoying fashion, but dressing in clothes you love can dramatically boost your self-confidence and your self-esteem. We all deserve to feel good about the way we look, and the options are limitless when it comes to picking out your clothes. You have the chance to express yourself, feel good, and improve your mood, all by the way you dress.


Pick out the clothes you love, rather than clothes you believe you are supposed to wear as a senior. If you love bright colors or solids, go for it. If you’re not sure if you like a certain look, or you want some feedback, ask a friend or family member what they think.





5. INSTALL HOME MODIFICATIONS WHEN NEEDED


If you’re struggling with your confidence because of mobility issues, installing home-health modifications could improve your mental health. Almost all seniors experience some decrease in their independence and mobility, but home modifications help you to safely conduct your activities of daily living on your own. You could install a raised toilet seat, long shoe horns, handrails in the shower, invest in kitchen utensils that are easy to grip, or reorganize your home so that the items used most are easy to reach.

6. VOLUNTEER


Volunteering, if you are able, provides a deep sense of fulfillment. Knowing that you have made a difference in someone’s day is uplifting and will boost your self-esteem. It is a great way to meet new people, and a great way to expend your energy to a worthy cause.

7. SET GOALS


It doesn’t matter what age you are, there are always opportunities to improve yourself and your skills. By setting practical, attainable goals, and then reaching them, you can boost your self-esteem and your self-confidence.


If you are still participating in your favorite hobbies, set small goals to improve upon them. For instance, you may add one extra book to your reading list, or plant a new row of herbs in your garden.

8. TALK TO A COUNSELOR

Sometimes, negative self-talk or self-criticism can become so habitual that it is difficult to overcome on your own. If your low self-esteem is interfering with your ability to function or in your happiness, seeking professional counseling might be the answer. While eating right and exercise can help improve your confidence, you may need counseling to break free from the habitual negative thinking. A trained therapist can help you learn how to remap your thinking to focus on your strengths rather than your weaknesses.


Self-confidence can open up a whole new life of possibilities. With high self-esteem, you are more likely to put yourself out there and make new friends, and feel proud to share your talents and knowledge with the world. High self-esteem empowers you to improve your physical and mental health, social life, and all other aspects of your well-being. If you are struggling with low self-esteem, know you are not alone, and that there is help out there. Self-esteem is something you build over time. By getting involved in activities that make you feel good about yourself, you will gain confidence and a more positive outlook on life.


We Can Help!

Here at Senior Healthcare Advisors, we specialize in maximizing Medicare benefits! We are here to guide you in understanding and enrolling in the Medicare benefits that you are entitled to and qualify for. Give us a call today

855-824-6618