Life, like many things, is not usually about quantity but rather quality. The elderly often face a decrease in the quality of their lives well before the end of their time. It’s just not enough to cater to the medical needs of your aging parents, but you must also ensure that their mental wellbeing and needs are catered for to help them have a positive view of life.
If your aging parents have a positive view of life, it can even help alleviate some of the medical issues they may be facing, such as stress, cognitive decline, lack of energy, and appetite. So how can you help the elderly be happy and be positive other than taking care of their needs?
Small steps will make a huge difference in the quality of the elderly’s life as they age. A survey conducted in 2013 by the National Council On Aging discovered that maintaining relationships with people they love mattered more to the elderly than anything else. Taking a few steps to ensure your aging parents or loved ones live happily and are healthy during their retirement years would mean a lot to them.
When they need help
There will come a time in a senior’s life when they can no longer provide adequate self-care. During that time, it’s the responsibility of family members to decide and be ready to determine what kind of care they will need. There are options like in-home caregivers, which help the elderly remain at home longer, which is one way to help them experience a greater quality of life because they are in a familiar environment.
End-of-life care decisions are never easy but must be tackled as soon as you notice a senior needs them. However, if extensive care is needed, you may include other options to get the necessary attention they need 24/7. This will help the family members and the elderly transition gradually into their new way of life.
Deal with depression early
Most seniors live alone, and it’s easy to miss signs that their quality of life is suffering. If you start noticing a lack of hygiene, insufficient food, or unusual lack of energy in your loved one, they may be experiencing depression.
As people age, they may experience many losses. Losses are painful, whether it’s the loss of a spouse, loss of independence, mobility, or health. Grieving over these losses is ok, but when the feelings of despair and emptiness are constant, you should talk with their doctor to check if they are depressed.
Symptoms of depression can also be a side effect of some commonly prescribed drugs, so you should also check to see if the drugs they are taking are causing mood swings and feelings of despair.
Helping senior people overcome depression involves finding new things for them to enjoy. It’s a misconception that older people cannot learn new activities or make lifestyle changes. The human brain never stops learning. If you can help your aging parents be involved in activities they enjoy, check on them often and involve them in family fun activities may help avoid depression.
Regular social interaction
People of all ages usually benefit from regular social interaction. The elderly, in particular those who live alone, may experience longer periods of isolation, which can hurt their overall health. If an aging loved one is living alone, regular visits and calls with family members and friends are a great idea and can counteract feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Another awesome way to increase social interaction among the elderly is to consider a senior living community such as a senior living home in Costa Mesa, CA, where residents have ample opportunities to form deep connections with others. Senior living communities even have playgroup activities so that their residents can get involved and make friends.
Whether meeting new people or connecting with loved ones, the elderly need to nurture personal relationships. They need the connections to lead happy and healthy lives. If you can’t meet them in person due to the pandemic or other factors, you can plan virtual meetings and connect with them online.
Engage them in physical and mental activities
Staying active is essential to preserving and improving the elderly’s overall health. Regular physical activities have been linked to several health benefits, including heart and stroke disease prevention. There are numerous ways to stay active such as walking. Ensure that you pick an activity best suited to their abilities, interests, and health condition.
Remember to ensure they are eating healthy and balanced meals to ensure they are getting the essential minerals needed in the body. You can ensure they are eating various foods from the five food groups, plenty of colorful vegetables, fruit, cereals primarily whole grains. You can check with their care providers or doctors if they have preexisting conditions and what they can eat and what they cant. Eating healthy will boost their overall health.
Exercising their minds is also another great way of engaging the elderly in mental wellbeing. They can get involved in puzzle games, trivia, or Sudoku. Brain games are great for their overall health and help improve cognitive functions. Other mentally stimulating activities include writing, cooking, or even jigsaw puzzles.
Help them find purpose.
Having a purpose for living and a reason to get up in the morning is essential for good emotional health. When the elderly feel like they don’t have any purpose in life, they feel empty and unhappy. Most people derive a sense of purpose from their jobs, and it, therefore, can be difficult when they get to retirement age and can no longer work.
Encouraging your senior loved ones to find purpose, whether joining a group of people with similar interests or engaging in hobbies they like and enjoy, can make a significant difference to their quality of life. Anything that can get them to meet other people and socializing while also giving them something to do with their spare time is worth considering.