Gratitude: Enhancing The Lives of Seniors & Caregivers

Thanksgiving marks the start of this holiday season and its important to include all of our loved ones. These gatherings provide seniors well-needed engagement and socialization, which helps reduce loneliness. This holiday is all about showing gratitude, giving back and spending time with family and friends. Research shows that gratitude can have physical, emotional and social benefits to both the supplier and the recipient. Here are a few reasons why it’s important to show appreciation to seniors and their caregivers during the holidays.

Increase Socialization:

During Thanksgiving we acknowledge all that we are grateful for. Giving thanks helps us reflect on our blessings and what we have, which helps people connect to something bigger than themselves. Not only can gratitude help individuals develop healthier relationships, but also can make people more sociable. Social isolation can be incredibly harmful to anyone, but especially to the elderly. According to NCBI, “Loneliness has been identified as a significant factor in physician utilization, independent of health status, depression and somatic complaints.” This is why it is important to keep all loved ones, especially seniors close by during the holiday season.

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Prevent Holiday Depression:

While we like to think the holiday season brings joy to everyone, this time of the of the year can be very depressing, filled with loneliness and anxiety for many people. Older adults are especially prone to depression during the holiday season due to an array of demands like, shopping, cooking, cleaning and entertaining. This can be extremely upsetting to seniors who may already have limited ability to get out on their own. However, gratitude can have positive effects on emotional well-being like, increasing happiness and decreasing feelings of depression. Studies have shown that thankfulness is linked to positive feelings of optimism, life satisfaction, hope, spirituality/religiousness, forgiveness, empathy, and prosocial behaviors.

Reduce Stress:

Family caregivers play a huge role in home care services and provide assistance for older adults with chronic illnesses or disabilities. It is common for some family caregivers to create positive bonds with a individual than others who may experience symptoms of caregiver burnout. However, showing gratitude can greatly reduce stress for caregivers. According to NCBI, “gratitude is the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself; it is a general state of thankfulness and/or appreciation.” Showing appreciation not only helps you become more optimistic, but can also help you focus on what you do have. It is important to be thankful for the good things in life because it can greatly improve your attitude so you can pay attention to the things that make life better.

At Renaissance Home Health Care and Adult Day Services, we understand and strive to meet the unique needs of all of our patients and encourage families to keep their loved ones involved while they enjoy the holiday season with grace and thankfulness. Our Director Of Patient Services, Marise Deaussou, explains, “We understand that some clients may have difficulty travelling to family and friends during the holidays. We encourage family members to include our seniors in their celebrations and also provide fun holiday activities at our facilities. This helps combat the feelings of loneliness during the holidays.” These natural feelings of isolation that many people experience during the holiday season are common amongst us all. We are here to help and can assist you to ensure that the ones dearest to you are leading a healthy and fulfilled life. At Renaissance, your loved one will never be alone.