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Spreading Positivity and Joy: The Importance of Words of Encouragement for Senior Citizens

Person holding the word Encouragment

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman


November 23, 2020

Reflecting on the aging process, singer-songwriter Mike Love commented, “The great thing about getting older is that you get a chance to tell the people in your life who matter what they mean to you.” With these words of encouragement for senior citizens, Love identifies an important advantage of aging.

Senior citizens have had more time than most to share their love with others. When you think of the seniors in your life, you know that they have made the most of that time. This is because most seniors have learned the value of time. They know the value of loving and encouraging words. Most importantly, they share those words freely.

Senior citizens need encouragement too, though. Read on to learn about the importance of words of encouragement for senior citizens.


The Importance of Words of Encouragement for Senior Citizens

The CDC estimates that 20% of elderly Americans are affected by mental health concerns. Depression is the most common mental health concern among older Americans. Other mental health concerns include anxiety and bipolar disorder. 

Suicide also remains a risk among elderly Americans. In fact, suicide risks increase with age. Men aged 85 and older have the highest suicide rate of any age group.

Even if they do not have a diagnosed mental disorder, senior citizens struggle with complicated emotions. 

As they reflect on their lives, seniors are likely to identify many reasons for gratitude. These include:

  • Friendships and family relationships
  • Career success
  • Personal achievements in athletics, music, art, or other talents
  • Positive memories of vacations and leisure activities
  • Hobbies and special interests

Even a casual glance at this list, however, reveals a potential mental health pitfall for seniors. As people age, many of the relationships, successes, and memories on the above list become just that—memories. 

Friends, spouses, and even children pass away. Retirement brings new freedom but also boredom. When some seniors retire, they may even feel that they’ve lost their purpose in life.

As relationships and careers meet their natural ends, the body also ages. This means that hobbies, vacations, and leisure activities become more difficult for seniors.

Thus, seniors do have many reasons to be grateful and many positive memories. However, they also need help maintaining a positive and grateful attitude in the present. 


Encouraging Senior Citizens: Tips for Conveying a Positive Message for the Elderly

To be most effective, encouragement for the elderly needs to be genuine, realistic, and personal. It also needs to be heard, and it needs to be repeated.

Many senior citizens struggle with their memory. If you share a message for the elderly today, they may forget it tomorrow. Repetition is, thus, key. Remember to keep in touch with your elderly loved ones consistently.

Also remember to vary the forms your messages take. Seniors appreciate spoken words of encouragement. However, they also appreciate tangible messages. These can include notes, cards, and pictures. The current kindness rocks movement offers another possibility. The kindness rocks movement spreads encouragement and positivity through painted rocks.

Many nursing homes and senior centers have capitalized on this trend. Some caregivers give residents rocks bearing positive quotes for senior citizens. More active seniors may enjoy finding inspirational rocks that have been “hidden” on the ground. Finally, some seniors may also appreciate the opportunity to participate in the movement by painting their own inspirational rocks.

Whether in the form of a rock, a note, or a card, a tangible positive message is one a senior can revisit when they’re feeling low.


Positive Words for a Positive Outlook

As you plan for a visit with an elderly person in your life, it can help to have some inspiration for seniors in mind. Positive thoughts for seniors include personal words of encouragement and motivational quotes for the elderly.


Personal Words of Encouragement for the Elderly

Personal words of encouragement include simple messages of “I love you.” Those three words aren’t the only way to show that you care, though.

No one wants to be forgotten, but the elderly experience a heightened sense of this fear. Reminding them that you think of them often assures them that they are still important to you. Starting a conversation, visit, or note with the words “I was thinking about you, so I thought I’d say hi” shows the elderly they are on your mind. It also invites further conversation.

In addition to statements, you can convey affection by asking questions. A simple “How are you?” goes a long way toward showing you care.

Based on senior citizens’ responses and your own observations, you might find other ways to encourage them.

If a senior expresses boredom, suggest enjoyable activities. You might even consider offering to do those activities together.

If a senior is struggling with an inability to engage in hobbies they used to enjoy, help them find new ways to use their talents.

Maybe an artistic senior can no longer paint detailed landscapes. However, she might be able to explore new styles, including abstract art. Likewise, a formerly active senior may no longer be able to hike rigorous trails. Still, he might enjoy time outside in a garden or on a paved path.

Finally, many seniors face the grief of a lost spouse, friend, or other loved one. Allowing them to talk about the deceased loved one can be an important part of the grieving process. 

Whatever the specific words, most important is for these personal conversations to happen. Show your love and care for the seniors in your life by making time to talk to them.


Encouraging Quotes for Seniors

If you’re struggling to find inspiration, inspirational quotes can help. 

The following positive quotes for the elderly show them that you care. They also remind seniors to reflect on happy memories while also finding reasons to be grateful in the present. 

  • “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” –Henry Ford
  • “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” –C.S. Lewis
  • “Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional.” –Carroll Bryant

Of course, these are just a few of the many good senior citizen quotes you can find.

While exploring ideas to share with the elderly, consider the recipient’s personality. Some people appreciate humor, while others prefer more reflective and meaningful words. Tailor your message to each senior citizen in your life.


Listening To Words of Wisdom From the Elderly

As you share words of wisdom for senior citizens, remember to allow them to share their wisdom with you. Being heard is another important component of mental health.

When you spend time with the senior citizens in your life, give them time to reflect out loud. Listen to their stories. Accept their wisdom and advice. 

As you do, be patient and demonstrate interest. Make eye contact. Ask questions. If you feel comfortable, touch is also a valuable way to convey affection when listening or speaking with a senior.


Encouraging the Elderly: Appreciating the Past, Remaining Grateful in the Present, and Loving Them Always

Mental health is important at any age. For seniors, however, maintaining a positive mental outlook can be a challenge. It is not a challenge they can or should face alone.

Words of encouragement for senior citizens can go a long way toward helping them stay positive. Telling someone you love them is one of the most valuable ways to spend your time. This is true at any age.

Whether you’re a senior in need of a helping hand or wondering how to get help caring for an elderly parent, read more about our at home care services or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.