Caring for the Heart and Soul

senior couple hugging Daily pain can reduce our quality of life and negatively impact our mental, emotional, and social wellbeing. Supporting seniors through their daily challenges with pain includes caring for the mind, body, and spirit! The following are some ways that caregivers can make a difference in supporting senior's holistic wellbeing.

Know and understand the signs of depression in seniors.

Loss of abilities, isolation and chronic pain can lead to depression and anxiety. Symptoms of depression can include sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, reduced interest in daily activities, poor hygiene, or weight changes. Caregivers and loved ones should know the signs of depression in seniors and support seniors in talking to their doctor often about their mental health and seeking treatment.

Manage stress.

a man holding his dog According to research, stress impacts pain and can worsen pain symptoms. Managing daily stress is essential to mental wellbeing. For seniors, create a daily schedule that includes a set time for stress-reducing activities.

Get physical.

Exercise has a positive impact on mental and physical health. For seniors with limited mobility, tactile ways to reduce stress include crafting with clay or playdough, creating tactile art.

Share love with a furry companion.

Studies have shown that caring for a pet can reduce stress, boost mood and have a positive impact on wellbeing. Caregivers can help seniors share the love with a furry companion or assist seniors to visit or volunteer at an animal shelter.

Support loss and the grieving process.

senior couple drinking coffee The changes which occur during our aging years, such as loss of abilities, loss of loved ones, and loss of independence, can lead to a grieving process for many seniors. Caregivers can help seniors by acknowledging the loss and helping seniors cope through supporting spiritual practices, journaling, connecting with a support group, and taking time to share heart to heart.

Practice mindfulness, meditation, and utilize cognitive behavior therapy.

Supportive therapies such as meditation and cognitive behavior therapy are evidence-based approaches that research has demonstrated to benefit senior health. Connect with a trained therapist or psychologist to talk about creating a holistic care plan to support your mental health.

Reach out to your loved ones and share your heart.

grandmother making cookies with grandchildren Being open and honest about mental and emotional health challenges is essential. Caregivers and families can support seniors by including mental and emotional health in seniors’ daily care. Take the time to create opportunities for connection to show your loved ones how much you care!


Zis, P., Daskalaki, A., Bountouni, I., Sykioti, P., Varrassi, G., & Paladini, A. (2017). Depression and Chronic Pain in the Elderly: Links and Management Challenges. Clinical interventions in aging, 12, 709–720.