8 Self-Esteem Activities For Seniors: Improving the Self Image of Aging Adults

Certified Senior Advisor®
Senior Home Safety Specialist®
20 years of medical equipment experience
Compassionately helping seniors and their caregivers solve challenges of aging

Self-esteem does fluctuate during the span of a person's life, but there is a notable decline starting in most people in their 60s. Lower levels of self-esteem can lead to poorer physical health as well as mental health, speeding up the aging process. Try these activities to improve the self-esteem of a senior you love.

self esteem activities for seniors
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Getting older means a lot of life changes. Unfortunately, many of them are detrimental to personal confidence and self-esteem.

Retirement is one of them. It can bring about feelings of not being adequate or useful anymore. Many adults rely on their employment to feel valued and as a source of self-esteem.

Over the years, self-esteem and confidence can drop considerably as you age. This is because you become less confident and do not feel competent to deal with problems such as buying a home or applying for a job. These feelings may lead to ill health and accidents.

Also, memories become hazy, and your understanding of the world around you is reduced. You may forget some simple facts or even end up making mistakes that are embarrassing.

8 Self-Esteem Activities For Seniors

All of these effects can leave the elderly feeling underappreciated and useless. It is no mystery that our confidence and self-esteem do, too, as we age. Here are eight activities and steps you should try to improve a senior’s self-esteem.

1. Make Sure They Look Good

Whether you’re the senior in question or you care for one, make sure they look good. When someone looks good, they feel good. Wearing a robe all day might be comfy, but it doesn’t do much for self-confidence. Practice full hygiene every morning and dress up respectably, even if it’s just for you and your family.

2. Pick Up New Social Skills

New friendships and social relationships matter regardless of the decade in which anyone is in. This is particularly true in retirement when old friends start slipping away to moving elsewhere, mental disability, and eventually death. It might be harder in retirement to get ‘out there, but initiative still matters. Look for shared hobbies and special interests. Even if the Internet isn’t really your thing, it’s there and makes it easier than ever to find like-minded individuals.

seniors with arthritis doing gardening as a hobby
Finding activities that aging adults enjoy doing and have rewards for the outcome can greatly improve self-esteem.

3. Find A Hobby

Sadly, many seniors might have to part ways with activities they love but can’t do safely or comfortably anymore. There are still plenty of other things that can be done, though, including picking up new hobbies like learning languages, yoga, crafts, painting, or just listening to audiobooks.

4. Get Out and About

Some seniors can’t get out of their homes without any help, but it’s still crucial to be active around town once in a while. That means more than just errands too. Eating out and seeing shows should be highlights of retirement.

5. Treasure The Wealth Of Your Health

Aging doesn’t have to mean declining health. Even if it does, you can keep it at bay for a while. Get enough sleep. Stay mentally sharp. Be socially active. Eat good food. Exercise routinely. You might remember these things boosting your self-esteem and confidence in your youth. They can do that now, too.

RELATED: Fun Nutrition Activities for the Elderly

6. Don’t Fall Prey To Stereotypes

Many successes have been accomplished against many negative stereotypes in recent decades, be it ethnic groups, skin colors, genders, or many other things. One group that still has a lot of negative stereotyping about it is the older generation. You can’t change how youth-oriented society might be, but you don’t have to let ageism have any room in your own head.

senior man with easy job at the library
Part-time jobs and volunteering improve self-esteem by increasing socialization and by completing tasks for a job well done.

7. Explore A New Line Of Work

Retirement doesn’t have to mean stopping all work. Supplement your retirement nest egg with a side job / income.

Take a crack at that dream job or desired occupation you never really had a chance to try out. You have a lifetime of experience behind you and possibly two to three decades to fill, so make sure you leave it all on the field.

8. Volunteer For A Win-Win

Volunteering helps others, whether it’s through your skills, service, expertise, or just your time. You can volunteer at nursing homes, charities, schools, churches, and more.

That’s a big win for any community around you, and even if you don’t do it for yourself, you’ll immediately feel a lot better about yourself. Volunteers past the age of 65 do more than 200 annual hours of volunteering per year. See if you can be a part of that.

Final Thought

Building your self-esteem as an older person does not have to be difficult. All you need to do is to take action. Once you start taking action, your self-esteem will grow gradually. The important thing is that you take action regularly. Eventually, you will realize that it is really just as easy to achieve your goals as it is for younger people.

A major obstacle that many elderly face is depression. To deal with depression, try to take time out once in a while. Also, surround yourself with like-minded people who understand your situation. Once your mental state becomes stable, there is no stopping you from pursuing your goals and dreams.

Aging can have seriously detrimental influences on self-confidence. Negative thoughts can spin up into a never-ending cycle of chronically low self-love. However, aging and self-esteem don’t have to spiral down together.

If you are getting up there in years and noticing this happening, then take small steps in better directions, and ask for help. If you’re caring for someone you suspect is going through this, talk to them about it if you can. Find out what you can do, and offer to help.

A little love and care go a long way!

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Senior Home Safety Specialist (SHSS)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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