Old age represents a stage of many changes in people’s lives, both physically and psychologically. It is time to accept that our role in society will not be the same, and even in the family, things will be different.
In these lines we will review some aspects of old age, focus on how to improve self-esteem in the elderly. We will review the main changes that occur after reaching this stage, and how to prevent them from affecting us in terms of quality of life. These principles also apply to psychotherapy with the elderly.
How to understand aging?
To understand how to improve self-esteem in old age, it is necessary to know that this is a stage of evolutionary development in which we started to see ourselves limited in some ways, due to the natural wear and tear of body and mind.
Reaching the stage of old age represents significant changes in our goals and our way of seeing life in general terms; in old age people start to assess what their life has been like so far and how they have handled it.
It can happen that the subject feels satisfied with what he has achieved and has no problem with his adult stage, but on the other hand also it may happen that the person feels that they have not achieved the goals set for themselves and experience feelings of emptiness and discomfort.
Tips for improving self-esteem in the elderly
Now we are going to look at some ways to maintain or improve self esteem in old age.
1. Accept the new role
The main thing so that our self-esteem is not diminished by old age is accept that our role has changed and that it is time to give up some activities that we did before.
The sooner we accept our new role, the sooner we will be ready to undertake new experiences.
2. Don’t compare us
No person is equal to another in any aspect; similar perhaps, but never equal. It is important to be clear about this not to make comparisons with other people facing old age in a different way
Old age does not apply equally to everyone, you just need to take care of your health and stay active in what is within your reach, without overdoing it.
3. Be understanding
It is important to understand why our family members and loved ones are struggling to change our routine and some of our daily habits. They don’t do it to annoy or because they see it as facing a burden, But because we are looking to improve our quality of life.
4. Cultivate patience
In adulthood, patience is a virtue worth gold. Sometimes we need the help of other people to do certain things and we might not always get that help as quickly.
To avoid feeling uncomfortable with this situation, it should be understood that there are things that are beyond our control, and that the best we can do is patiently wait for them to give us the help we need, Without disturbing when it does not happen immediately. Avoiding this kind of frustration protects our self-esteem, as it doesn’t make us feel useless, but helps us embrace an identity in which humility is important.
Adapting to our role in old age
Once you reach old age, the ideal is for the person to understand that they can no longer do some of the things they used to do. As the subject comes to terms with these facts, they will be less likely to be affected by low self-esteem.
The new role played by people immersed in old age is to serve as a guide for generations to come; it is natural for older people to like to talk and advise younger people who know how to value their anecdotes and who can learn valuable lessons from them.
It is important that the elderly continue to feel useful to prevent them from falling into severe depressive states. due to issues related to their self-esteem. Establishing a daily routine with activities within your reach protects against feelings of worthlessness.
How to manage retirement?
In older adults it is not always easy for him to get used to the idea that he has to retireIt is common to see how many are reluctant to face this impending situation in their professional life. Even in some cases, after retirement, some seniors still return to their old jobs.
To fully understand that retirement is near, and that it is something we cannot avoid, we must learn to properly close the cycles in our lives. Arm yourself with the idea that everything has a beginning and an end, and understand that in order for us to start new cycles, others must close.
If people start planning for retirement on time, in many cases this will not pose a risk to their self-esteem because they will already have other activities planned to which they plan to devote their time. Talk to other colleagues about their post-retirement assistance plans.
- Oñate, M. (1989). The concept of self. Formation, measurement and implications for personality. Madrid: Narcée.
- Higgs, P. and Gilleard, C. (2015). Rethinking old age: theorizing the elderly. Palgrave Macmillan. VII, 119 – 120.