Loss of Confidence in The Elderly

this image shows young boy in a superhero outfit ant the words "I've lost my confidence"

How to help someone elderly who has lost confidence.

Whilst I only know so much, I hope to be seen as the “go-to” person with regards to helping someone elderly make the most of their last years.

Unlike large corporate charities I want to be available for people to reach out to me on a one to one basis.

Today showed me why.

Em has very kindly allowed me to share this with you as she and her Nana are not alone in dealing with the issue of lacking confidence.

When you are a child and your parents moved home this meant you starting a new school . I knew this all too well, my parents moved in the very last year of Primary education and ended up at a new school for one year where most of the children had been for years and had established friendships. Luckily I was fairly confident and a good gymnast and soon settled in!

Imagine being 91 and moving somewhere new. Imagine if this is following the loss of long partner,which for many it is. Put yourself in their shoes.

Em contacted me recently saying;

“Hi Caron, I am concerned that my Nana may be afraid to leave her home.
She has moved to sheltered housing that has a communal area with
activities but she does not feel confident to visit. Should I
encourage her or is it best to leave this matter? I don’t want her to
feel pressure but I don’t want her to feel isolated either.”

I replied back saying;

Hello Emma,

Thanks so much for contacting me about your Nana.

There may be many issues surrounding your Nana and her unwillingness to socialise.

She may just be shy and lack confidence in her new environment. They can seem a little clicky to start but once people get to know her they will be friendly and supportive.

If you are unable to visit her when there is an activity on, mention your concerns to the house manager or warden. He/she may be able to help.

Do you know why your Nana has lost confidence? Is it a mobility issue or perhaps she has hearing/sight loss, continence issues that she doesn’t talk about.

It is, as you said important for her not to become isolated and lonely, she may just need some encouragement to get involved. You could always have a quiet word with another resident/neighbour. Keep an eye out for low mood, lack of appetite as your Nana may be depressed and there is help available for her.

I hope this helps. Thanks for being such a caring Grandaughter. Please help me spread the word about Caron Cares. It and I try to help whenever we can!

With very best wishes, Caron.

Em responded;

All great advice that makes sense, thank you Caron.

Nana has suffered badly from depression in the past so I recognise the signs and I’m desperate not to see her go through that ever again.
She is 91, therefore unsteady on her feet, she has a hearing aid and her eyes are definitely deteriorating. We have provided her with a tri-walker and I would love to get her to try it out, it’s a shame about the weather at the moment as that is reason enough not to venture out for now. I will gently nudge her in the right direction and speak to a neighbour, who I know very well, to see if she would be kind enough to visit now and again.
Thank you for providing a listening ear, it’s difficult to know where to turn with matters that are of a general well-being nature. You are providing an invaluable service.
To which I responded;
Hi Emma,
Many thanks for your very kind words. Would you have any objections to me using this conversation as a case study blog post?
If your Nana is struggling with confidence and new surroundings you can bet some else’s is too. I would change your name if you preferred and wouldn’t mention the location if you didn’t want me to. Also if you do achieve some success please come back to me and I can update the post. Keep in mind dementia, 1 in 3 people over 85 have it and it’s not just a memory issue, people’s behaviour can change.
It is lovely to be able to help and thanks Em for letting me share this.
Caron

Award-winning blogger and care columnist for Devon Life magazine, Caron also campaigns for recognition of the needs elderly people and their carers. Designer and creator of the award-winning Dementia Assistance Cards which are free to all, and helping thousands of people globally Caron is passionate and committed to making a difference

4 Comments

  1. Hello Suzanne,
    Thank you for taking the time to contact me about your Mum. I will give you my honest thoughts. I think at 97 your Mum is just wanting an easy life and shutting down.I understand as her Daughter you want to help your Mum and keep her as active and mobile as possible and that is entirely understandable and commendable. If you can cope with it, let your Mum do what she feels she can do and what she wants to do. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a comfortable rest. For you Mum to be so independent still is amazing and I am sure she does what she feels she is able to do. I personally wouldn’t force her to have physio, keep asking her if she wants to do more but doesn’t make her feel pressured. I hope this sits well with you? You must be so proud of her, just keep letting her know how wonderful she is and see how you go. No pressure or expectation on either part. xx

  2. Dear Caron, I have just read your note on elderley and lack of confidence. My mum Is almost 97 and up to a year ago has been getting about on one stick indoors and two stick outdoors. We bought her. 4 wheeler to push outside but since Christmas she has taken it indoors and now relies on it totally, not able to walk at all without its support. She is also very shaky and does not like going anywhere there is background noise as she wears hearing aids and it multiplies the sounds too much. I have just struggled to get her to an optician as her eyes also seem to be getting worse. Should I try and get her to move more and even walk down the lane she lives in as she used to do a lot. Should I try and involve her in a day centre even though she will not hear a lot of the conversation. Or should I just let her enjoy her last year or so sitting at home with her thoughts and memories and not having any stressful journeys to clinics etc? I live very close and am her carer. We have just been given a professional carer 6 days a week for 15 minutes a day and 30 minutes on shower days ( which are also a trial for her) !! She manages to cook her own ready meals and has a cleaner in twice a month. I clean in between. It is so sad to see her declining knowing how active she was up until recently. She suffers with a very painful back and we are waiting for the MRI scan results.. This does inhibit her movements also. I have asked her if she is in pain or does she not have confidence anymore in walking and reply was the she has no confidence in walking anymore. !! Should we try physio or is she just closing down..?

  3. Thank you so much for that kind comment. I like to think of myself as the Age Uk/ WHICH magasine you will get a reply from and personal service.

  4. Great story, Caron – the ‘Go-To’ person for elderly topics!

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