June 11, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

Senior Happiness

A time of crisis can bring out both the very best together with the worst in us. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve heard stories of people hoarding items and selling them in order to make an excessive profit, coupled with stories of heroes who selflessly met the needs of others despite their personal fears.

The secret to weathering the storms, which are bound to come up during our lives, is resiliency. Mia Bartoletti, clinical psychologist for the Navy SEAL Foundation, works with families of those serving in the military, and provides suggestions that will help build resilience through any time of crisis.

  1. Express your reactions. It is common to experience a variety of responses to a crisis: flashbacks to other difficult situations, dreams and nightmares, avoidance and withdrawal, trouble with sleeping, irritability, issues with concentration and focus, and hypervigilance. What’s essential is to make certain these reactions are temporary, and don’t progress into long-term psychological problems. Accept your feelings, and express them with a reliable friend, or write them in a diary.
  2. Continue to keep social connections. While your instinct might be to pull away from family and friends during a crisis, staying in touch on a frequent basis with people you care about is essential. Finding a support group, whether in person or online, is yet another good way to guarantee you’re developing and maintaining social ties, making it possible to talk with others in a similar circumstance.
  3. Take a moment for self-care. This means different things to every individual, but should include relaxing activities, engaging interests and hobbies, nutritious meals, lots of sleep, and physical activity. If you learn that it is hard to carve out time for yourself as a result of caregiving duties, At Home Independent Living is always available to provide trusted caregiver support. Taking good care of yourself allows you to take better care of those you love.
  4. Realize what you are able to control – and what you cannot. Letting go of what is beyond your control and concentrating instead on what you CAN control is one of the foundations of resilience. Psychologist Mary Alvord, who founded Resilience Across Borders, explains, “Depression is hopelessness and helplessness, and so resilience is the opposite. No, you’re not helpless; you do have control over many aspects of your life.”

It’s always wise to seek professional counseling in the event your reactions to stressful conditions are impeding your ability to maintain a sense of calm and to tend to the necessary daily activities of living. And, watch for signs that senior family members are experiencing undue quantities of stress so that you can obtain the help they need also.

Be aware that regardless of what life may bring, you can rely on At Home Independent Living, the independent living care agency families in New York trust most, to walk beside you with dependable, professional aging care services that inspire older adults to remain resilient and independent. Our professional respite care in Syracuse, NY and surrounding areas helps family members reduce stress, and improves quality of life for the older adults they love. Reach out to us online or at (315) 579-4663 for more information and caregiver support.