It's easy to look past the loneliness and isolation of a senior, especially when we are busy with our own lives and stresses. A senior may slip into depression if left isolated and unstimulated. At first thought, it may seem like a challenging task to aid seniors in this portion of their lives, but here are a few tips to make it easier to for both you and them:
Stimulate Mental Activity
This may seem obvious to some, but it often goes unnoticed that our elderly relatives are not engaging in mentally stimulating activities. As humans, we need to stimulate our brains in ways that encourage mental fitness and sharpness, and without this kind of mental activity, we quickly fade into nothing. So, what can be done for mental fitness? The simple and small activities that we take for granted:
1. Crossword puzzles
Promote Physical Activity
All of us have been told just how important exercise—of any kind—is, not just for the body, but for the mind and all other aspects of our being. This is true for seniors as well. Physical activity helps to improve blood circulation which in itself has a multitude of benefits. But physical exercise is also good for quality sleep, stamina and can help relieve depression. You might be concerned about the kind of exercise that is suitable for a senior and the level of intensity that is encouraged. The list of possible exercises varies based on the individual. But just going for a simple evening or morning stroll will suffice.
Maintain Frequent Contact
It is human nature to crave contact with another human being. Otherwise, we can easily lose ourselves. This is why it is important to establish and maintain frequent contact with family and loved ones. It is also encouraged that you try to teach your seniors how to get and stay connected using a smart phones and other smart devices. Social media and technological devices make it easier to connect and stay connected with family and friends. This may be hard to do, as some are slower to learn than others, but it is worth the trouble and will ultimately improve the quality of life of your senior(s).
Create Small Goals
We all feel the need to be working towards different goals and to feel like we are achieving something. This doesn’t change because we become seniors. Therefore, our seniors need to come up with small goals that are important to them. Help your seniors figure out matters enough to them and help them craft goals based on that, so they can have something to aim for. These goals can range from fitness to helping with a charity to reading a number of books. It is also consequential that you understand the importance of these goals and not treat them as insignificant.
Increase Friendships and Connections
While it is good to have a supportive and close family unit, it is also important to have friends that are within close proximity. Some of us are still young and naturally become members of different groups (work colleagues and yoga friends) but it doesn't come as easily for our seniors. It can be hard for them to establish new relationships. They don’t make new friends at work or at the bar. So, as relatives and family, we can help them form new bonds by encouraging them to join a book club or a pottery class. All of these foster new friendships and relationships. Simple as they are, they can be life-changing.
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