When caregiving for an elderly parent, you’re probably the most concerned about their physical health. While that’s very important, you should be considering their mental health and general well-being as well. Seniors should still be goal setting and achieving things they want from their life at any and all ages! Even simple things that are written down as goals count. That feeling of achievement and success is a natural high that everyone wants to feel after they know they’ve done something good.
Your aging parent’s independence greatly relies on their ability to set and meet goals. There’s plenty of realistic dreams to have as an elderly person. Even something small like losing a bit of weight, or bathing every day counts as a goal. Some other ideas you can suggest to your parent to set goals about:
- Walking a mile farther than usual
- Visiting grandchildren once a week
- Eat a salad for one meal a day
- Finish knitting that sweater in 2 weeks
- Read a book a month
- Join a yoga or senior swimming class and go three times a week
How to Set Goals as a senior
Goal setting could end up being the difference between your parents merely staying healthy for the rest of their years or being happy and full of life for the rest of their years. Having something that fulfills them and challenges them is one of the best ways to ‘stay young’ and have joy for life. If your mother or father is afraid of failing or not meeting their goals, remind them that now is their time.
How should your elderly loved ones be making goals? Here is a good way to start using SMART goals:
- S – specific achievement
- M – measurable
- A – achievable
- R – realistic
- T – time frame
To use this acronym for goal setting, sit down with your parent and get a piece of paper. You can even include a professional from elderly home care to help your aging parent in their day to day tasks. Write down each letter and leave some space under it. Think about what things your parent enjoys doing or has always wanted to do. Here’s an example:
- Specific achievement: lose 20 pounds
- Measurable: pants will fit looser, the scale will be 20 lbs. lower
- Achievable: is it possible for your parent to do this? Think about medications they are on and doctor recommendations
- Realistic: will 20 lbs. be too much to lose to be healthy, or too little?
Time frame: don’t make a goal to lose all 20 lbs. in one week; it isn’t going to happen. Do some research and you’ll find it’s much more achievable and realistic to lose 20 lbs. in 10 weeks to three months.