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7 Steps to Encourage Resilience in Seniors


Resilience is a trait we often learn when young, but tend to grow out of as we age. This skill is what helps us overcome obstacles and try again. As our obstacles become bigger and more difficult to handle, we may rely on resilience less, but that doesn’t mean that resilience can’t help.

The aging process is full of challenges and difficulties, and it isn’t uncommon for individuals, especially seniors, to feel that they are losing control of their life or are unable to participate the way they desire. This is where resilience comes in. Rather than feeling hopeless and lost, resilient individuals face their challenges head on—and often end up feeling happier and more independent for it.

As your loved ones grow older, you may notice changes in them and they way they handle challenges. Encouraging resilience can help them meet these struggles more positively, and can help them adjust better to changes as they happen. Here 7 tips to help you encourage your loved one’s resilient nature.

1. Practice Optimism

A positive outlook can go a long way towards successfully navigating the aging process and all the changes that come with it. You can help by maintaining an upbeat and positive outlook around your loved one, and by also helping them find beneficial aspects about their current situation.

Planning for the future is another way to cultivate an optimistic outlook. Having a plan in place for future care needs can allow your loved one to devote more energy to other things they enjoy, rather than worrying for their future. Explore different care options with them and listen to their input carefully. You may not need to make decisions at this time, but talking about it can let your loved one have more control in their future care.

2. Embrace Challenges

Setbacks are frustrating, but they can be great opportunities to grow. Focus on making stressful times into a way to cope with future challenges by learning the most effective solutions and finding support when needed.

These challenges can also be a great time for your loved one to explain their wishes for their future care. When things are difficult, they may realize things they hadn’t thought of, such as the necessity of making plans for their long-term care, and having several options depending on their future needs. Don’t treat struggles as if they are a setback—instead, help your loved one embrace the learning opportunity.

3. Take a Break

Even the most resilient people need time to rest and recover. Don’t get so caught up in finding solutions to problems that you and your loved one forget to take time to enjoy things too. Overcoming stress and relaxation are equally important to build resilience and prepare ourselves for future challenges.

Having some long-term care plans in place can help ease the stress of changes and struggles, too. Looking into insurance policies, care options, and talking to family can prevent stress in the future and you may be able to find resources that offer respite from the stresses of aging and caring for an aging loved one.

4. Don’t Take It Personally

No one can predict what will happen when you grow older. Your loved one may be blaming personal choices for their current condition, but that doesn’t mean they can’t change the future still. Rather than letting your loved one dwell on past mistakes, help them find ways to improve their future.

Planning for your loved one’s future care is a great opportunity to help them change their own future and have a say in what happens to them as they grow older. It can be very comforting to know there are plans in place for when you need care, so they can focus on handling any challenges that arise today.

5. Support Others

Helping others to build resilience is a great way to build your own resilience. Whether it is planning for future care to protect family from making those tough decisions or getting involved in the community, giving time and energy to others can be empowering. Help your loved one find a way they feel good about giving back, and let them flourish with their new purpose.

6. Remember the Comebacks

Throughout our lives, we face tough challenges and make it through them. Sometimes, recalling particularly difficult times and the triumph of successfully making it through can encourage your loved one to try and tackle current challenges again. Talking about their situation and finding parallels can be immensely helpful for encouraging them during tough times.

7. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

It’s easy for your loved one to stay in their comfort zone and never try anything new. Sometimes, discovering a new situation or challenge can be very rewarding and can encourage resilience. Making long-term care plans ahead of time frees your loved one up to try new things and live their lives to the fullest. When they don’t have to worry about their future care, your loved one can try something unique and new, and maybe even find a new passion.

At King Street Rehab, we understand the challenges of finding the perfect care solutions for your loved one. Our Fairfield County long-term care center offers experienced, knowledgeable staff, personalized care, and comfortable accommodations, all designed with your loved one’s wellbeing in mind. Learn more about our services and take a free tour of our facilities today!

Contact our office by calling (914) 937-5800.

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