It’s natural for people to want their loved ones to live as long as possible. That means family caregivers are always on the lookout for ways to keep their older family members as healthy as possible and extend their lifespan. Well, there’s good news! Some new research indicates that increasing the length of your aging relative’s lifespan might be as easy as them having an optimistic attitude.
Optimism and Lifespan
Researchers from Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City conducted a review of 15 studies that involved about 230,000 participants in total. The researchers discovered that the findings from the studies were very consistent. Compared to pessimists, optimists had a 35 percent lower risk of developing serious complications due to heart disease. And, it doesn’t matter the age of the person. The review showed that everyone, from teenagers to people in their 90s saw health benefits from optimism.
Some of the studies used in the review gave the participants questionnaires to complete about their lifestyle, including how optimistic they felt about the future. Some of the participants said they felt good about it even though they were uncertain of what was to come. Others said they never assumed the future would be positive. The studies found that the people who were positive about what the future might hold tended to have healthy hearts.
So, how might optimism improve heart health? Researchers speculate that it has to do with several factors. They suggest that optimists:
• Are better at problem-solving.
• Develop good coping mechanisms.
• Are more likely to reach their goals.
These kinds of skills are also ones that enable people to manage their health. People with these skills are more apt to take an active role in taking care of themselves. They keep an eye on their health and tend to take better care of themselves.
Tips and Tricks for Increasing Optimism
Even if your older family member isn’t naturally optimistic, it is possible to cultivate a more positive attitude. Some tips and tricks that could help to make them more optimistic are:
• Practice Gratitude: Spending some time each day thinking about and identifying things they are grateful for can increase optimism in seniors.
• Focus on the Good: Even when a day goes badly, there’s probably something in the day that was good. For example, maybe the older adult was suffering from joint pain that kept them from being active. The silver lining in that cloud may be that they got to spend the day reading a good book or watching movies.
• Celebrate Accomplishments: When the senior reaches a goal, celebrate with them. Make sure they know you recognize how hard they worked and help them to set a new goal.
Home care can foster optimism in older adults, too. Having a home care provider who comes to help them regularly can allow them to focus more on what they do have instead of what they don’t. Knowing a home care provider will help take care of the basics lets your aging relative spend more time on the things they enjoy, which can improve mood and make them look forward to the future instead of dreading it.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Naples, FL, call the caring staff at Dial-a-Nurse today. Naples: (239) 307-0033. Ft. Myers: (239) 307-0065.
In 1995 he became Administrator of Dial-a-Nurse nursing agency, the oldest nursing agency in the Southwest Florida succeeding his mother who started the company 37 years ago. He is also President of Nevco, Inc., an educational healthcare training company begun in 1988.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce on various Missions to improve the quality of life around the world by development of supportive healthcare programs. In 2005 he traveled with U.S. officials and addressed the Italian National Government assisting in the creation of Nurse Education mandates for that Country. In 2006 he was invited and spoke with the National Institutes of Continuing Education in Eastern Europe on healthcare education and developmental mandates, and most recently represented the United States at the European Union in Lake Balaton, Hungary in 2011. In 2014 he traveled with the U.S. Department of State to Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam in an effort to improve caregiver knowledge and training.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with a number of non-profits in contributing and creating curriculum to improve the quality of life in third-world countries since 2001, and notably created a successful program in Odessa, India that has been modeled in other areas of the world. In his backyard, he has worked with local Goodwill Industries to provide curriculum and training to underserved individuals who have obtained employment as a result of educational training. He was the Congressional appointment to the Governor's purple ribbon task force in 2013, and has worked to educate caregivers in all aspects of Alzheimer's training.
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