Most of us are concerned about the health and wellbeing of our elderly relatives and want to do everything that we can to protect, look after, be there and take care of the elderly. Nobody wants to see their parent, grandparent, or another elderly relative that they love in pain or upset. As people age, we will often, unfortunately, experience a natural decline in our health that can often worsen or lead to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Many older people who are experiencing physical health issues that prevent them from living life to the fullest may become depressed as a result of feeling isolated and unable to take part in the activities that they enjoy.
Seniors are often at a higher risk of suffering from poor mental health. If you want to make sure that your elderly relative gets to enjoy happy and fulfilling golden years, here are some strategies that you can take to help them enjoy better mental health and wellbeing.
It’s not unusual for seniors to need some additional help when it comes to getting things done as they get older, especially if they are suffering from mobility problems or other physical health issues that might prevent them from doing everything for themselves. Going grocery shopping, for example, might be something that a senior will need some assistance with as they age. However, with that being said, most older people would like to remain independent for as long as possible and continue doing the things that they can do for as long as they can. They will often appreciate being able to ask for help when they need it, but otherwise want to stay independent, make their own decisions, and continue doing things for themselves. After all, not many of us would like to rely on other people for everything in life. If your senior relative needs additional care, an assisted living facility where they can get the care they need while remaining independent can be a useful choice. Check out Brandywine Senior Living for more information.
Encouraging a Social Life
Isolation and being unable to spend as much time as they would like with friends and family members is often one of the leading reasons for poor mental health in seniors. According to studies, untreated hearing loss is one of the most common reasons for social isolation and depression. Hearing aids for seniors work and are the best solution for senior hearing loss. If you are concerned for an elderly relative who is expressing feeling isolated and you suspect that their mental health might be suffering as a result, one of the best things that you can do to help finds ways to encourage them to enjoy a better social life. Aside from moving to a residential facility where seniors can make new friends and socialize often, you may want to consider setting up more regular family visits and arranging for your relative to attend groups and clubs in their area that are specially designed for seniors to get involved in.
Boredom can have a huge impact on mental health, especially when it comes to seniors who might already be feeling isolated and lonely at home. An active brain is usually a healthy brain, and many seniors can benefit from having something new to learn or something that they are interested in doing while at home. From online courses to quizzes and jigsaws that they can do to keep their minds busy, encouraging your relative to spend some time learning something new, whether it’s something that they have been interested in learning for some time, or a new idea that they’ve just discovered, can be very helpful. In addition to improving mental health, learning a new skill can also help to improve cognitive function and has been shown to help avoid the likelihood of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
If your relative is reluctant to move out of their home into a retirement facility, or you are worried that they are going to be alone for a large part of the day, home companionship is a growing service that’s becoming more and more popular among seniors and their relatives. When opting for this service, you can get peace of mind that your relative is not going to be on their own for all of the time when you are unable to be there. Some home companionship services also provide caregiving services, where somebody can visit to help your relative with everyday tasks and self-care, making sure that they take their medication, get a bath or shower, and helping with meal preparation. In other cases, it could just be somebody to head over and visit to spend time with your relative, talking to them, watching TV, and offering general friendship and support.
Having a pet at home can be a great source of support for many seniors. Some pets, like dogs, can actively encourage seniors to get out more where they will benefit from the ability to exercise more often and improve their social lives by meeting new people. Pets that don’t need to be walked like a cat or a rabbit can also help seniors by providing them with companionship when they are at home alone, and giving them a sense of pride and responsibility.
Exercising can be beneficial for everybody, but it’s especially useful for seniors who may not be able to get out and about as much as they used to earlier in life. While exercising might not be as easy as it once was as we get older, there are several forms of physical activity that are designed for seniors and can be easier for them to do. You might be interested in local fitness classes designed for seniors that involve exercises that can easily be done while remaining seated, or forms of exercise that tend to be ideal for anybody, even with mobility problems, such as swimming. Along with having many physical health benefits, older people who exercise regularly also tend to enjoy better mental health.
Nobody wants to see their older relatives struggle with poor mental health and loneliness. If you are worried about a loved one, keep these strategies in mind to help improve their situation.