Life’s hard. How can I be more grateful?

by Barbara Fradkin


It is hard to believe the holidays are upon us! Sure, there were challenges to deal with this year. But, the pandemic is receding, the delightful Florida winter is coming and we are finally reconnecting with our families and friends. We have a lot to be grateful for, and showing gratitude helps boost our physical health, mental health and social well-being. 

Gratitude requires a conscious effort to slow down and really take notice. Practicing gratitude helps us appreciate not only the things that are going well, but also lends a sense of perspective to negative situations, providing the opportunity for ultimately changing them to positives. 

As we get older, we experience losses and everyday annoyances that can frustrate us or make us sad, angry, or even resentful. When things are going well in our lives, it is easy to express gratitude. But when things are not so hot, showing gratitude can be a challenge. Why not try this exercise for practicing gratitude: Write thank-you notes to people who have made a difference in your life. As you write each note, you’ll discover that you are truly thinking with a grateful heart. After I meet with a family and they send me a nice note, it reminds me why I became a social worker.

Giving back is a form of gratitude, too. At One Senior Place, our Brevard TRIAD Senior Santa tree is up. Until December 5, you can pick a Santa off the tree and buy something for a needy or lonely senior in a long-term care home. What else can you do?  If you are physically able, consider sharing your time by volunteering. There are so many worthy organizations who need help. Whatever you do this holiday season, share in the gratitude we all feel helping others. As William Arthur Ward wrote, “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”  Happy Holidays!


One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to, call 321-751-6771 or visit The Experts in Aging at Barbara Fradkin is a Social Worker, Certified Care Manager and the Director of One Senior Place, Viera.