Looking after an elderly relative is a big responsibility and it isn’t always easy. No matter how loving and devoted you are, being responsible for another person’s wellbeing is always a challenge.
Fortunately, there area number of simple things that you can do to improve the quality of life for an elderly person. Below are some ideas.
Monitor and Treat Depression
Depression is a common risk among senior citizens, and the elderly are more susceptible to depression than younger age groups are. It is especially important that those aged 65 or older are monitored for signs of depression.
Sometimes depression is triggered by a traumatic event in someone’s life, but it can also appear seemingly without a root cause.
Encourage seniors to be aware of the signs of depression and to act on them if they see them by making an appointment with their doctor as soon as possible.
Help Them Find Purpose
Having a purpose in life and a reason to get up every morning is important for good emotional health. It is when people feel like they don’t have any purpose or point to their lives that they start to feel unhappy and empty inside. Many people derive a sense of purpose from their jobs, and it can, therefore, be difficult when they reach retirement age and can no longer work.
Encouraging your senior to find purpose, whether that be by taking on work or by joining a group of people with similar interests, can make a big difference to their quality of life. Anything that gets them socializing and meeting other people while also giving them something to do with their time is worth considering.
Help Them Stay Active
Our emotional health and physical health are both intimately linked. If you let one slip, the other one will soon follow. For senior citizens, who are already more susceptible to depression than younger people are, staying active and fit can go a long way to staving off any feelings of malaise or unhappiness.
While it may be more difficult for older senior citizens to stay active, everyone should be able to do some form of physical activity. Regardless of age, people do not need to do any particularly strenuous activity in order to reap the benefits of exercise.
For example, even going for a 15 or 20-minute walk every evening can ultimately lead to significantly better health outcomes for your senior. You can even kill two birds with one stone and encourage them to start exercising as part of a group. There are lots of senior exercise groups operating today, so have a look online to see if there is one in your local area.
As many people get older, they find that they struggle to do many of the things that they once enjoyed. A lot of people also fear that they will reach the point where they are unable to remain in their own homes and live an independent lifestyle.
Anything that you can do to help a senior to lead a more independent life will be good for their mental and physical health in the long-term. For example, one option is a portable mobility scooter that will enable them to travel under their own steam without having to rely on anyone else for transport.
Similarly, getting them set up with their own cell phone and service can also greatly restore their sense of independence. Even the most tech-averse seniors can learn to use today’s smartphones.
The key to keeping an elderly person fit and happy is to encourage them to get out there as much as possible. Don’t let them wallow alone indoors; encourage them to seek out other people and find companionship.