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Why Self-Care Is Important Regardless of Age
Pamela D. Wilson - Caregiver Subject Matter Expert Pamela D. Wilson - Caregiver Subject Matter Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Denver, CO
Wednesday, December 27, 2023


Why Self-Care Is Important Regardless of Age

The Caring Generation® – Episode 183, December 27, 2023. Health impacts many aspects of life. Learn the importance of self-care to support physical and mental resilience regardless of age. Caregiving expert Pamela D Wilson shares how self-care can improve quality of life across the lifespan.

Self Care: Why It’s Important for You, Aging Parents, and Everyone in the Family

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The importance of self-care regardless of age offers insights into why devoting time to building physical and mental resilience poses benefits for lifetime health. Self-care can mean you will be less likely to need increasing care or assistance from others as you age. So, if you, aging parents, and others you know want to remain independent and lead fulfilling lives, now is the time to engage in daily self-care activities.
While everyone in the family may be healthy today, caregivers know that health can change in the blink of an eye. You or a loved one might be involved in an unexpected accident or diagnosed with a new health condition requiring care.

Why Self-Care is Important Regardless of Age

So here are a few reasons why self-care—however you define self-care—is important:
  • Persons who make self-care a regular part of life more easily bounce back from challenges that occur in many areas of life
  • A regular self-care routine can make it easier to respond to unexpected health issues because of being mentally and physically strong instead of trying to recover from a state of weakness or frailty.
  • Self-care supports the motivation to be proactive, mindful, and practical when navigating change or making decisions.
  • An aging body with multiple chronic diseases can be more difficult to repair due to health factors that make recovery a hurdle.
Discussing the challenges of an aging body is not a popular topic until something happens and decisions must be made. Considering factors of aging, it is essential to do everything you can today to look after your health and well-being to minimize future age-related problems.
If you want to be, stay healthy, and lead a fulfilling life, identifying what self-care means to you is essential for success. To begin, ask yourself, do you want to get by in your later years or live the full and active life of your dreams with a sense of purpose and independence?
Living a healthy life is a choice everyone can make, but only if you take action to make it happen as early as possible in life. While it is never too late to begin self-care or healthy habits, delays can result in an inability to identify or reverse health problems.
Age can be a number, or it can be something to fear. What will you choose? When you make self-care important regardless of age, you have time on your side.

Gaining Resilience

Let’s talk about resilience because self-care contributes to the ability to bounce back regardless of age. There are two types of resilience.
1 Physical resilience is the body’s ability to recover from a decline after a brief or unexpected illness or maintain as the consequence of a long-term illness that will not go away.
2 Mental or psychological resilience is the ability of the mind to adapt positively in response to hardships, problems, trauma, threats, or stress.
Caregivers and persons experiencing health issues benefit from self-care habits that support physical and psychological resilience. The importance of self-care regardless of age means that you can be mentally and physically strong at any age—from your twenties to your nineties.
How many of you have noticed that two people of the same age can appear drastically different in their physical appearance and mental approach to life? There are young 100-year-olds and old and frail 60-year-olds.
Which will you choose to be?

Responding to Stress

One effect of stress on caregivers and persons with poor health is the idea of perseverating, which means remembering and repeating an action long after an event. For example:
  • Do you relive arguments you had with a loved one or someone else?
  • Do you constantly complain about siblings who don’t help care for aging parents as you relive all of the work you do every week?
  • Do you relive the events of a car accident or another event that didn’t work out as you hoped?
If so, you may be perseverating. When perseverating, your mind can take over and increase the trauma you feel through repetitive thoughts of reliving the event.
People who perseverate can have greater difficulty moving past unpleasant events or circumstances. Instead, they become stuck in the past and fear the unknowns that the future presents.
Perseveration is like listening to the sound of a needle on a record, skipping and skipping. The needle gets stuck in a groove and can’t move ahead. An uncontrolled brain in repeat mode cannot clear the way for progress.
So, in a sense, resilience measures how individuals respond after a stressor or an event. Do you perseverate on the stressor, or do you move on?
When focusing on daily self-care, perseveration on past events lessens as you gain balance over emotions that can take you off track from your goals.

Comparing A 100-Year-Old House and a 100-Year-Old Body

An example of planned resilience is a 100-year-old house. Whether or not the house was maintained over 100 years makes a difference in its ability to withstand daily use, aging components and materials, and the effects of exterior factors like weather, storms, rodents, and shifting ground.
A 100-year-old house can have a solid foundation and be in good condition if the owners set money aside and did the work to update the electrical, plumbing, air conditioning, heating systems, roof, windows, and other interior and exterior features. If so, living in the home might be pleasurable. Additionally, the home maintenance costs are likely to be more manageable.
But if the opposite happens and there is no home maintenance, then the 100-year-old home—like a 100-year-old body—will be weak and falling apart due to a lack of attention. There may be a point of no return where the foundation is so poor that any work to improve the situation will likely fail.

Raising the Odds of Feeling Good

Regular physical and mental self-care raises the odds of success in living a pleasurable and healthy life. How much time are you currently devoting to self-care and good health habits?
Anyone of any age can create daily habits to bring desired experiences into their lives. Self-care is not limited to family caregivers or persons experiencing health problems. Self-care and finding balance between life priorities benefits everyone.
For example, persons who see a physician once a year for a check-up and follow through with tests, medical recommendations, and preventative care will likely be in better physical and mental condition. Over time, attention and personal investment in self-care and health raise the likelihood of identifying health issues early—before they become irreversible problems associated with significant healthcare expenses.
Self-care—like going for medical check-ups and getting your teeth cleaned—raises the odds of preventing concerns related to the effects of aging. While these actions are “good for the body,” making the effort to schedule regular appointments may feel unnecessary until a problem arises.
Unfortunately, when issues are discovered, they may have existed for some time and are about to cause more problems. While you may be a busy caregiver or have other life commitments, waiting to see a doctor or delaying preventative tests can add more complexities to life if there is an unexpected result.
Self-care is important regardless of the age of the caregiver. Caregivers in their twenties have different needs from caregivers in their fifties. Find a self-care routine that works for you and make time each day to follow through.

Coping Mechanisms

Let’s look at how self-care can make dealing with stressful situations easier. Dealing with difficult people or problems within your family, at work, at school, with a neighbor, insurance companies, medical providers, and others can be stressful if you don’t have the tools to respond constructively.
Blowing up in anger or frustration does not make dealing with difficult people or problems easier, although it may feel good for a second. So, when difficulties arise, you can choose to defend yourself or meet the problem head-on using coping strategies.
  • Coping strategies can include finding the motivation to solve a problem
  • Learning from a challenging situation can increase self-confidence in dealing with future issues
Being defensive vs. finding the motivation to solve problems can mean the difference between living in fear or focusing on problem-solving to deliver a result. While tolerance and dealing with difficult situations can come with age and experience, this does not mean that twenty-somethings cannot possess the composure and grace that can result from self-care activities.
Experiencing stress can be mentally distracting. Getting caught up in a swirling mass of confusion and being distracted from other parts of life is easy when experiencing stress.
The good news is that everyone can learn new habits and skills to support self-care at any age. Having a positive mindset and realizing that change comes from within—not from others—is critical to moving forward, from perseveration about what might have gone wrong in the past to creating a better future.

Responding with Courage and Kindness

By managing thoughts about worries and concerns—like unexpected health problems, medical treatments, and even how to pay for care—it is possible to choose how to respond to others with courage and kindness.
Never underestimate the effect of a kind word or gesture. The world needs more kindness.
Stressful experiences can result in a lack of patience, negative behaviors, and saying words you wish you could take back. Courage comes from learning to shift attention to useful thoughts, new behaviors, and habits.
This can mean occasionally operating outside of a comfort zone. As a caregiver or the person who needs care, maybe you feel isolated, alone, depressed, or fearful. You might be surprised to learn that many others are in similar situations.
Here are a few options.
  • Consider joining an in-person or online support group to share your story and feelings. Check out The Caregiving Trap, which is my online Facebook group.
  • Find an activity you enjoy.
  • Schedule time for yourself, whether reading, crafting, prayer, exercise, medication, cooking, yard work or attending a social group or event.
A stressed brain must have time away from focusing on the same subject or constant worry about events that may or may not happen. Life experiences follow where the mind chooses to focus. Focus on the positive instead of the negatives and worry.
The beauty of self-care is that the definition is up to you. Self-care may be going fishing or playing golf. It may be a trip to the beauty shop or a massage.
Whatever it is—self-care is something that makes you feel good and is not detrimental to your health, well-being, or others—no violence, substance or drug use, or any activity that can be harmful.

Adapting: Losing Control and Dealing with Uncertainty

Realize that being a caregiver or a person with health issues means losing control of life and dealing with ongoing uncertainty—making self-care necessary regardless of age. If you feel life is out of control, focus on what you can influence, even if this temporarily limits your response.
Instead of focusing on the problems immediately before you, find a way to research and identify the bigger picture filled with opportunities and blessings. You have probably heard the saying; you can look at life as a glass half full or as a glass half empty. You get to choose.
Know that there may be situations where you feel unequipped or unprepared to make decisions. If so, seek help, research options, ask questions, evaluate information, and make the best decision.
Realize that even still, situations can change, and adjusting decisions may be necessary. Responding to changing circumstances is an external process that benefits from having the mental resilience to adapt.
Coming to terms with life changes, including unpleasant ones, can help you move forward. There may be a sense of realization that controlling a situation is impossible. Your response may be the only thing you can control.
Accepting that you lack control can open the door to a new beginning or understanding of the next steps to take to move ahead. The challenges caregivers and persons needing care face often mean that one door closes and another opens.

Embracing Change

It is easy to struggle with the desire to stay behind in old or familiar ways that are familiar. However, resisting change can eliminate options for what might become a better life.
  • Instead of remaining inner-focused on what you can control, focus on exterior events and be flexible and confident to move ahead one step at a time.
  • Think about how you worked through difficult times in the past and succeeded.
  • Choose to rewrite or reframe the current story to feel optimistic.
  • Imagine a better future so that you make choices and take action to do whatever is necessary—even though hard or seemingly impossible.
Life means working through ongoing periods of stability, change, challenge, trauma, and blessings. Realize that everyone starts from a different place when struggles begin.
family caregiver support programsNot everyone has the same coping skills or the mental strength to persevere through difficulties. Be kind to yourself and others as you embrace self-care and increase resilience to respond to change.
Identify what self-care means to you. Make self-care a daily priority to grow your physical and mental resilience to move through every obstacle in life and find ways to help loved ones do the same so you can create the life of your dreams one day at a time.
Check out The Caring Generation Podcast Episode #43 for more details about self-care activities.


Looking For Help Caring for Elderly Parents? Find the Information, Including Step-by-Step Processes, in Pamela’s Online Program

©2023 Pamela D. Wilson All Rights Reserved
The post Why Self-Care Is Important Regardless of Age appeared first on Pamela D Wilson | The Caring Generation.

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Pamela D. Wilson, MS, BS/BA, CG, CSA, is an international caregiver subject matter expert, advocate, speaker, and consultant. With more than 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, fiduciary, and care manager in the fields of caregiving, health, and aging, she delivers one-of-a-kind support for family caregivers and aging adults.

Pamela may be reached at +1 303-810-1816 or through her website.


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Name: Pamela Wilson
Title: Director
Group: Pamela D. Wilson, Inc.
Dateline: Golden, CO United States
Direct Phone: 303-810-1816
Cell Phone: 303-810-1816
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