Articles by Diana Boufford
I shared this particular story in Dr. Rashad’s workshop of Positive Psychotherapy, and he pointed out that I was able to employ the character strength of playfulness to address an ongoing and challenging problem with my mother.
Adopting an optimistic, playful attitude to problems over which you have no control improves your coping and your longevity.. Elders benefit from having a good sense of humor, including the ability to laugh at themselves. Restorative therapy gives control back to people. We can help them be the people they want to be through good food, exercise structured for their needs and goals, and positive energy.
We are physical beings. Our bodies were designed to move. When they don’t move, they start to break down. Even elders in wheelchairs can participate in frequent exercise routines that maintain mobility and preserve mental health and acuity.
What does research tells us about the relationship between what elders eat and their overall well-being? Eating neither too much nor too little and following a Mediterranean style diet can help elders preserve muscle mass, brain power, and overall well-being.
I contend that we could improve the quality of life for elders and for ourselves as caregivers if we could assess social fitness and provide suggestions for enhancing strengths and addressing areas needing improvement.
Here are some practices that build social fitness and social networks. Be brave, go forward, have fun, and make this the best time of your life.
How can a program be created to serve older persons transitioning from stage to stage in their elder years? Moving from independent living to nursing home living? How might they thrive in the process and throughout their lives? How could this apply to the professional and family caregivers? Here I share perspectives on cultivating emotional fitness in the elderly and their caregivers with stories showing the concepts in action.
Now let’s explore ways to build family fitness among elders and the people who care for them. This is part of the Comprehensive Geriatric Fitness model inspired by Comprehensive Solider Fitness in the US Army. Family fitness centers around the changes in lifestyle that elders often face. These changes are usually not done in isolation. Often the family must undergo these changes along with the older person.
Let’s explore ways that people can build spiritual fitness, even those experiencing the physical, social, financial, cognitive, and memory losses that occur more frequently and rapidly in old age. Let’s start with the story of Mrs. M.
Comprehensive Soldier Fitness is an effort to take the basic ideas of positive psychology and adapt them to the needs of soldiers. I contend that we could use the same approach to adapt positive psychology interventions to the needs of elders and their caregivers, achieving a significant contribution to the quality of life of this growing part of our population.