Get tips about self care for older adults in the Bay Area. Seniorly offers some ideas and resources that can help seniors live peacefully and mindfully.
“Self-care” can be a little nebulous. It’s a term that’s gotten a lot of attention since the pandemic started, as people lived through intense daily stress for months on end. Whether it was social isolation, fear of getting sick, or concern for the political upheaval our country has experienced in the last few years — or a combination of all these and more — self-care has been touted as a balm to our stressed minds and bodies.
But what does self-help really mean? Does it refer to luxuries like manicures or massages? Is it as simple as gardening? There’s no one answer: in many ways self-care is different from person to person. How then, should seniors, who are already at an increased risk of social isolation and other conditions, approach self-care?
Self-care for older adults is generally very similar to self-care for folks of any age, however, we have some tips on things you can try in the San Francisco Bay area, specifically.
Maybe you’ve made sure that an older loved one’s needs are being taken care of — either by yourself, home care workers, or by their assisted living community’s staff — but you’re still concerned they aren’t practicing self-care. Even when their personal care is taken care of (ADLs, like daily grooming, bathing, etc.), some seniors struggle to find the energy to get out and do things, or to make new connections. In truth, making new friends can be tough at any age. Family members can help encourage seniors to get out by attending events and activities with them, especially if they’ve just moved into a senior living community where the environment is new.
If your loved one is particularly resistant to nurturing their own well-being, you might want to broach the idea of therapy for seniors. There are counselors and psychiatrists that specialize in helping older adults with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues that might be preventing them from living life to the fullest.
Finally, remind your older loved one that self-care is not selfish: everyone needs and deserves time in their day for creativity, connection, and peacefulness.
Weir, Kirsten. “Nurtured by nature.” April 1, 2020. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2020/04/nurtured-nature
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms.” September 27, 2017. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/depression-and-exercise/art-20046495
“Physical Activity and Health: A Report of the Surgeon General.” Page last reviewed November 17th, 1999. https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/sgr/olderad.htm
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Mindfulness exercises.” September 15, 2020. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/mindfulness-exercises/art-20046356
Marlena del Hierro is Vice President of Partnerships and Seniorly’s Lead Gerontologist. Marlena earned her Master of Arts degree in Gerontology from San Francisco State University and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Development from California State University. She also serves in an advisory capacity for Jukebox Health. As Seniorly’s first employee, Marlena is a vocal advocate for evolving the aging paradigm, and is a frequent contributor to public discussions about aging. She has served as a resource for media outlets like WGBH, FOX News, CNBC and the Today Show.
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