As November unfolds, we find ourselves in the heart of National Gratitude Month, looking ahead towards Thanksgiving; a time to talk about being grateful. And you’ll find that gratitude has a big impact on the people getting and giving home care.
The Power of Appreciation
Gratitude is not just saying 'thank you'; it's like a super power for making people happier and healthier, especially for seniors. Gratitude magnifies the good bits of every situation, ultimately making us happier people.The act of expressing and nurturing gratitude becomes an essential element in enhancing the quality of life for our beloved seniors under home care.
Research demonstrates that the expression of gratitude significantly impacts both mental and physical well-being. For seniors, who might experience challenges and transitions as a part of their daily life, gratitude serves as a powerful antidote. For example, ‘gratitude has been associated with lower blood pressure, and, in one pilot study, higher levels of heart rate variability, a marker of well-being.’
Gratitude has also been shown to promote better sleep patterns, and reduce depression.
Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., is the world’s leading expert on gratitude research. In his findings, he reports that “people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:
- Stronger immune systems
- Less bothered by aches and pains
- Lower blood pressure
- Exercise more and take better care of their health
- Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking
- Higher levels of positive emotions
- More alert, alive, and awake
- More joy and pleasure
- More optimism and happiness
- More helpful, generous, and compassionate
- More forgiving
- More outgoing
- Feel less lonely and isolated.”
Now that is an impressive list! Emmon’s research shows us that a grateful state of mind can reap results far beyond the mind itself, impacting the entire brain, body and personality of the grateful person.
Gratitude: A Boost to Every Relationship
As you can see above, appreciation has many valuable social effects. In the environment of home care, gratitude acts as a catalyst for building strong, trusting relationships between caregivers and those receiving care. The acknowledgment of appreciation not only validates the efforts of caregivers but also fosters a sense of security and comfort among seniors.
As we navigate National Gratitude Month, it becomes pivotal to weave the spirit of thankfulness into the daily fabric of home care. Here, it's not just about the act of caregiving; it's about creating an environment that resonates with warmth and appreciation.
The emphasis on gratitude isn’t just a one-way street; it’s a mutual exchange. Caregivers express gratitude for the opportunity to make a positive impact, and in return, seniors feel acknowledged and valued for their individuality and life experiences.
Why is Gratitude So Powerful?
Being grateful means focusing on the good in your life and the world around you. In that way, it makes us think about what we do have, rather than what we’re missing. At an older age, a person may feel down about the capabilities they no longer have, but with a perspective of gratitude, they’ll instead be focusing on what they do have. They’ll also find pleasure in appreciating past blessings, and feel grateful for what they have managed to achieve in their life, leading to a deep feeling of contentment.
Additionally, it may be worthwhile to point out that people who are grateful simply don’t spend as much time on negative emotions such as anger, resentment or jealousy, as being grateful blocks out these negative emotions.
Increasing Gratitude Practically
Simple acts of gratitude within a home care setting can have profound effects. Encouraging open communication, expressing appreciation for small victories or moments, and instilling a culture of recognition contribute to a more joyful and compassionate environment.
Moreover, engaging seniors in gratitude practices such as gratitude journaling, reflection, or sharing moments of thankfulness can become part of their daily routine. These activities not only enhance emotional well-being but also create a supportive and comforting atmosphere.
This Thanksgiving season, why not create your own ‘Thankfulness Jar’?
Decorate a mason jar and keep it somewhere handy, with a pen and slips of paper. Make a habit of writing down something you're grateful for and dropping it into the jar, at least once a day.
It’ll become a testament to a more grateful you. On a hard day, reading through the notes in the jar could be a wonderful pick-me-up.
Gratitude is not just for November
And when National Gratitude Month comes to an end, let's keep the gratitude vibes going. Showing thanks shouldn't be just for one month. It's like a secret recipe for having a good day every day!
Let's continue to actively nurture an environment where every day becomes an opportunity for expressing appreciation, recognizing the value of each moment, and living life rich with joy and warmth.
Just keep that "thank you" spirit alive, making each day a little brighter for our amazing seniors and the hardworking people giving them care.