As our family, friends, and loved ones age, there may be times when it seems they have lost all interest in life. They may complain all their own friends and loved ones have passed away and they are lonely. They may focus on the activities they are no longer able to do and feel incomplete or unfulfilled. They may no longer have a job or goal that motivates them and feel as though they lack purpose or direction. When working to help an elderly loved one who is experiencing feelings like these, the most important thing to remember is that a loss of interest in things is not a normal part of aging, and there are many things you can do to help your senior loved one find purpose and motivation.
Elderly friends and family members who appear to have lost interest in everything may just be lonely. You can try to schedule time in your day or week to stop by and visit the elderly. If this is not a workable option for you due to your other life commitments or the elderly family member is just too far away, you can look into local programs that can drop in and visit in your stead. Having a friendly face nearby can help your elderly relative feel more motivated to interact socially and stave off loneliness. What else motivates the elderly? Goals. Goals can be something as simple as walking to the mailbox each day, or something more complex like volunteering at a local library or hospital. Volunteering is helpful for a number of reasons – it gives the elderly person a reason to get out of the house and be social, and also gives them purpose.
So why do we lose interest in things as we age? Depression can lead to a lack of motivation and loss of interest in activities. Health problems, loneliness, fears, or recent bereavements can all contribute to depression. The same tips mentioned above for combating loss of interest can also aide in coping with depression. Additional suggestions to help fight depression can include getting a pet. Caring for another creature can provide motivation and a sense of purpose. Getting out and walking a dog provides exercise and the motivation to get out of the house. And don’t forget – no one is ever too old to learn a new skill or make a lifestyle change. Try learning a new language or take up a new craft project like painting.
Finally, if you are concerned that your elderly friend or family member losing interest in life or becoming depressed seems like too much for you to handle, seek help from your doctor. The depression could be caused by an illness or interaction between medications. There are also many options for medication that can help combat depression. So, try to avoid feeling stuck or overwhelmed. It is easier than it may seem to motivate the elderly and help the senior citizens in your life feel interested and energized again.