Growing old is something that we all have to go through, no matter how hard we try to ignore this aspect, especially when we are young. This process is not the easiest one, from dealing with various health issues and physical pains to major life changes, so it’s very important for senior family members to keep a positive outlook on life.
With this being said, the family plays a major role in this, and there’s something that each and every one of us can do to ensure the health and well-being of our elderly relatives. Besides making sure that they go to their regular check-ups at the doctor’s office, maintaining their mental well-being is crucial.
Helping your senior relatives find a cheaper medication or affordable lift chairs is probably not enough in terms of overall care, even though it’s definitely useful. Some changes can lead to a decrease in the stress level, making senior members have more energy, better appetite, as well as fewer chances of dealing with cognitive decline, so let’s see what these are.
Deal with depression
It’s not fun becoming less active and increasingly dependent on those around you, especially after a lifetime spent being active, which is why seniors oftentimes deal with depression. In fact, some researches show that over 6.5 million individuals aged 65 or older deal with such a mental condition.
Various events such as losing a spouse or being retired can cause a lot of mental stress, so if family members do recognize any signs that indicate such a condition, they need to talk to a specialist (doctor, counselor, psychologist, or therapist) on what the best approach is.
Some psychological needs
We all have various psychological needs, but after spending a lifetime being active, most seniors dread the idea that they are no longer needed or useful. In fact, this is a factor that can lead to depression, so it’s important for the entire family to make elderly members feel like their help is still needed and that they are not a burden.
It’s true that they might not do the given tasks efficiently or perfectly, but the most important thing is that they are contributing. Of course, depending on their physical strength as well, they should be asked for help with tasks that are easy to handle. Some examples are folding laundry, opening the mail, keeping grocery or to-do lists updated, or running small errands.
We’ve spent a lot of time discussing the psychological part, but we should never forget that a healthy mind needs a healthy body, so older adults should always be encouraged to remain physically active. No matter how gentle or small their activity might be, it’s crucial for the mind and the body to remain positive and balanced.
Of course, remaining physically active has plenty of other benefits, such as improving sleep quality, lowering the blood pressure, or boosting the immune system.
Mental activity & family connection
Seniors need to remain mentally active as well, and this can be achieved with brain games, such as Sudoku or crossword puzzles, reading, writing, and other similar activities that ensure their overall mental stimulation.
Staying connected with family and friends is the most important thing for a senior’s mental well-being. Unfortunately, older adults who are lonely and isolated are exposed to a greater risk of developing a mental condition, such as dementia.
That’s why seniors need to stay connected, which means that family visits can be organized, they should attend various social events such as parties or birthdays, and they can be encouraged to have a hobby or join a charity organization as volunteers.