Thanksgiving is a time of togetherness, good food, good conversation and a reminder to give thanks. Expressing gratitude is a time-honored tradition for the Thanksgiving holiday, but gratitude is also beneficial to our health.
Sometimes, the holidays can bring up feelings of stress and anxiety or depression and loneliness. There are a lot of expectations at holiday time, and it can be overwhelming dealing with preparing for visitors and celebrations. On the other hand, seniors can be more alone as they age, making it even more important to reach out to loved ones or take a moment to feel grateful for what one has.
Expressing gratitude provides benefits not just for the receiver but for the giver as well. Acknowledging a job well done, the goodness in someone or even a favorite memory brings up positive emotions and helps to build relationships, ease feelings of depression and even improve physical health.
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. — Melody Beattie
Bringing up a previous experience you are thankful for can help seniors with memory and promote happiness for both seniors and senior caregivers. Expressing thankfulness in the moment recognizes that one should not take things for granted. And expressing optimism for the future can ease anxiety and depression and bring about feelings of hope. Seniors especially can benefit from gratitude, especially for seniors living with dementia. Expressing appreciation for a senior with dementia can ease anxiety and irritation, reminding them that they are valuable and improve their mental and physical health.
“Our team is made up of people with huge caregiving hearts. It’s nice to pause and acknowledge what we are grateful for and what makes us happy.” Mark Cimino, CEO of CiminoCare and son of Wilma Cimino, founder.
One does not always have to thank a person to express gratitude, though the receiver will surely be grateful!
Gratitude journals encourage daily reflection, and acknowledging even the small things we can be grateful for: a roof over our heads, a hot meal, a sunny day, the love of a pet or the chance to garden. Scientific studies have shown that keeping a regular gratitude journal or writing thank you notes brings about feelings of personal satisfaction, increases happiness and improves well-being.
Depending on your faith, praying or meditation encourages gratitude and brings a sense of calm and mindfulness that can be carried with you throughout the day. Even thanking someone in your head brings about the health benefits of gratitude.
CiminoCare asked team members and residents to share their “gratefuls”, and the most popular were:
- The rain
- My Faith
- Being able to see family and friends
- The support of people who love me
- A well cooked meal, with a delicious dessert!
Gratitude brings about feelings of contentedness and helps us be happy with what we have instead of always looking for more. This Thanksgiving, whether you are gathered around with loved ones, meeting virtually or taking care of others, take a moment to express your gratitude for a person, memory or simply having a nice meal. You will ease feelings of tension, anxiety and depression and your brain and body with thank you! Make it a habit and enjoy lifelong feelings of connection, satisfaction and improved well-being.
From all of us at CiminoCare, we want to thank our senior caregivers for all that you do and our residents for being you. Happy Thanksgiving and have a wonderful holiday season!