Tag Archives: Physical and Mental Health for Seniors

Improving Quality of Life for Seniors

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The following article has been submitted by Jason Lewis. Jason is a personal trainer and he’s the primary caretaker for his mother. Jason works to create programs that are considerate to the special health needs of those over the age of 65. 

Seniors-on-a-Bench

Improving Quality of Life for Seniors

When seniors reach their older years, they want to continue to maintain a high quality of life. Staying physically healthy is important, but that’s not all there is to life. We need to ensure their mental and emotional state is in good shape as well. Here are a few ways to improve seniors’ everyday quality of life and give them a positive outlook, which can ease stress and help cognitive function.

Monitor Depression

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says depression affects up to 5 percent of the elderly population. That number jumps to 13.5 percent for seniors who require home health care. Get acquainted with the signs of depression in the elderly and be on the lookout for them in the seniors you know and love, especially after major health incidents or events like the loss of a spouse. If necessary, take them to the doctor to get the help, counseling, and/or medication they might need.

Stay Physically Active

Regular physical activity does wonders for both the mind and body. Exercise can keep the blood flowing, relieve stress and anxiety, sharpen the mind, boost the immune system, encourage better sleep, build stamina, and even create fun. This doesn’t have to a huge workout for seniors. Even something as simple as walking or swimming can give them the benefits they need. They don’t even have to leave their home. There are many at-home exercises that seniors can do inside using exercise videos or fitness apps. Staying active is the key.

Another excellent exercise for seniors is playing golf. There’s nothing like spending time with friends at a golf course while breathing in fresh air and enjoying the sunshine. Golf is also a great low-impact workout; seniors can burn calories by walking and swinging their clubs.

Stay Mentally Active

Mental activity is important as well. Find something the senior in your life enjoys and help them stay mentally engaged. This can take the form of reading, games, and puzzles, such as crossword puzzles or Sudoku, or even learning a new instrument if they’re feeling adventurous. Some seniors may even want to go back to school for a class on a topic they’re interested in.

Keeping the brain sharp isn’t all about puzzles. A plant-based diet can help improve memory and cognitive function, slow the aging process, increase energy levels, and even help seniors get better sleep. Next time you go to the store, encourage seniors to try new fruits and vegetables or visit the farmer’s market together. If you help with food prep, put veggies front and center. You might even consider starting a garden together to pair low impact exercise with healthy eating.

Fight Substance Abuse 

Sadly, dependency and addiction are issues with seniors that you may have to face as you maintain their quality of life. While Americans over the age of 65 comprise about 13 percent of the population, they take about 33 percent of all prescription drugs. Even when they take medicine for legitimate reasons, it can lead to abuse, addiction, and dependency, especially with opioids. Statistics also show that up to 17 percent of adults over the age of 65 struggle with alcohol abuse. 

If you see any signs of dependency or addiction, talk to them about it. Research treatment options and get them into a program if necessary. Let them know you’re there for them and you’re not going to leave them, even when things get tough. 

Overall Happiness

You can do several little things to give seniors a brighter outlook on life as well. Create beauty in their lives with fresh flowers, their favorite music, and sunshine. Make sure they’re eating well. Get them out of the house for community events or even just a country drive or walk in the park. Arrange their medications and any treatments they’re undergoing so they don’t have to spend so much time and energy managing details. Share details of your life with them and include them in family events; they love to be part of what’s going on with their loved ones.

Although seniors face challenges in their later years, they can still live a fulfilling life if you follow a few simple guidelines. Giving seniors a high quality of life is the least we can do after all they have done for us.

Thank you so much, Jason! I really appreciate your contribution and the work that you do! Happy Spring, everyone!