Senior citizens are a demographic that often have their well-being overlooked due to the larger concerns about providing basic needs and care. However, it is just as important that senior citizens maintain their health as much as possible.
A caregiver can help their loved ones to remain engaged by encouraging them to remain physically, socially, and mentally active. These are a few tips to help encourage senior citizens to remain active:
Many senior citizens struggle with mobility issues that can make it difficult or impossible for them to get around as well as they once did. This can be discouraging or embarrassing for a senior that was once independent and now relies on the help of others to help them get around. While it sounds easy to encourage a senior to remain active for their health, it is important to give them the tools to accomplish this and help them to believe that they can still maintain an active lifestyle.
Mobility issues can be improved through many measures. If a senior has balance issues, then a walker or cane may help them to move more confidently around their home. A motorized medical scooter is a good choice for more severe mobility issues and for trips outside of the home. With the confidence that mobility tools provide a senior will be empowered to enjoy some of the activities that they used to enjoy without the concerns about limited mobility.
Helping a senior to adapt activities that they once enjoyed in ways that they can still enjoy them is important. For instance, for a senior that enjoyed gardening it may be possible to create raised garden beds or a potted garden on a porch where they can still enjoy caring for plants without the physical labor of a larger garden.
Senior citizens are more likely to suffer from loneliness and social isolation than any other age demographic. This is due to many factors including the deaths of friends and loved ones including their spouse, losing touch with friends over the years, and limited use and understanding technology that younger generations rely on for social connection. Social isolation is especially prevalent in men after the death of a spouse.
Everyone needs social connections. Encourage seniors to remain socially active by helping them to continue to visit and communicate with friends. This may involve helping seniors to continue attending worship services, meetings with local groups where they have been involved such as VFW’s, and by helping a senior to integrate some technology in a way that will help them retain social connections such as a smart phone or computer.
3. Mentally and Psychologically
Senior citizens suffer from unipolar depression and dementia at a high rate. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests steps that caregivers can take to help alleviate or lessen these symptoms by encouraging seniors to remain mentally and physically active. Suggesting games such as jig-saw puzzles or crosswords can help seniors to maintain physical and mental dexterity. Even listening to music has been shown to improve brain function.
Mental health is tied to security and well-being. Ensuring that the senior feels secure in their living situations, are an active participant in their medical decision making, and that they are well provided for will help to maintain good mental health as well. It is important to encourage the senior to remain engaged with the present.
It is difficult for any senior citizen as they age and are forced to realize that there are limitations on what they can and cannot do. Many become discouraged when they realize that they may not be able to enjoy all of the things they once did. They can become emotionally distant when they suffer losses. Reminding them that they can still enjoy life and the people in it is important to motivate them to remain healthy.
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