How to motivate your elderly parents or loved one

Staying motivated can be a challenge for all of us but it can be especially tough during older age, especially if someone’s living alone or their wife or husband has recently passed away. If your loved one has got into a bit of a rut and is stuck sitting in a chair, there are plenty of ways you can help them get their mojo back so they can carry on living life to the full. 

Why motivation is important

Motivation is a key component of psychological wellbeing, which is just as important as our physical health as we age. When we are motivated we are more likely to socialise, feel content and look after ourselves by eating healthily, exercising and practising good hygiene.

Staying motivated as an elderly person can be difficult if they experience loss, health concerns or anxiety. They may not be as physically able as they once were or may have lost interest in previous hobbies. It can be dismaying to see your parent or loved one unmotivated, but there are things you can do to bring back a bit of spark into their daily life.

Here’s how you can motivate and encourage your elderly parents or loved one:

1. Encourage exercise

Going for a walk is a simple way to get your elderly loved one up and moving. Fresh air and a change of scenery can make a world of difference to their outlook. Next time you feel they need perking up, why not suggest a simple stroll? It could include a trip to a local cafe, bakery or park. 

Other options include simple yoga movements or stretches that you can do together. If your loved one is less keen on exercise, consider setting manageable goals to encourage motivation and pride in their achievements.

2. Ask for their advice

Elderly people want to feel useful and relevant; if they can't physically help you with a situation, they can still offer up advice. Include your loved one in personal decisions or dilemmas to help them feel needed and ask for their opinion on newsworthy topics. It will benefit your relationship and allow them to feel independent and included.

2. Bring them a new book to read

Whether your loved one is a fan of fantasy or nonfiction, reading does wonders for the mind. If your loved one needs a dose of inspiration, try bringing them a new book you think they’ll love. 

Better still, take them on a trip to their local library or bookshop so they can choose a few new titles for themselves. If they have trouble with their eyesight, show them the joys of audiobooks with Audible.

3. Get them up to speed with tech

These days, we stay connected via video calls, messaging services and social media, as well as good old phone calls and in-person chats and activities. But many older people struggle to stay in touch in these ways if their tech skills aren’t up to speed. To give them a hand, why not take some time to get them set up on a social platform and download a messaging app, then show them how to use them? You could even get them an Alexa, so they can control some of their tech with simple voice commands.

This will help them to feel independent and involved with their wider family, providing companionship during times when they're alone or the ability to connect with those who live further away.

4. Introduce them to meditation

Meditation can help fight anxiety and depression, increase our feeling of energy and give us an intriguing new hobby to explore – any time, any place. If your elderly loved one is open to the idea, encourage them to give meditation a go. They could learn via YouTube, use an app like Headspace, or even attend an in-person class at their local yoga centre. 

5. Unleash their creativity

Creativity is a magical force. It helps keep us happy and healthy and gives us a chance to express ourselves. If your elderly loved one used to love watercolours, sculpture or another form of art, why not bring them some new materials so they can enjoy it again? And if they’re new to it all, perhaps treat them to some art classes as a gift. Life drawing, ceramics, painting and creative writing classes are all brilliant ways to stay vibrant and meet interesting new people.

6. Help them forge a new friendship

While helping to motivate your elderly loved one can be massively rewarding, it can feel like a pressure. You can make a real difference to their mood and energy levels, but it can’t be solely your responsibility. To lighten the load, why not find a local companion they can forge a friendship with? Companionship can help transform an elderly person’s day to day, bringing them much-needed social contact and combatting loneliness – someone to talk to, laugh with, walk with, play games with, and even learn new skills from.

7. Find an inspiring local companion

companiions’s makes it so much easier to find someone with a creative spirit and heaps of get-up-and-go, to kickstart a new chapter in your loved one’s life.

Ready? Download the companiions app and sign up.