The United Kingdom has an ageing population. According to a report from Age UK, a registered charity for older people, the country has approximately 12 million individuals aged 65 and over.
As people grow older, they may begin to feel depressed. They may also think that they’re becoming a burden to other people. Family members, however, can help the elderly mitigate these negative feelings by enhancing their quality of life. By doing so, older adults will have less stress, more energy, and a better appetite.
Here are a few ways to help seniors boost their quality of life:
Encourage Social Interaction
The elderly often become lonely and isolated, especially if they are unable to live independently or have mobility problems. These older adults are at a higher risk of developing dementia and having a shorter life span.
If your ageing senior is at home, help them stay connected to friends, family, and community members. A good example is to arrange outings or family visits during the holidays or on special occasions such as weddings, anniversaries and birthdays.
If your elderly family member is in a dementia nursing care home or some other care facility, ask the staff if the care home has outing programmes that allow seniors to interact and socialise.
Monitor and Treat Depression
A report from the Mental Health Foundation revealed that depression affects older people — specifically 28 per cent of women and 22 per cent of men aged 65 and above. Depression can be due to various factors, including medication, disease, inability to live independently, and losing a spouse. If you want to improve an elderly loved one’s quality of life, you’ll need to recognise the red flags associated with depression. Common indicators include:
- Emotional numbness
- Suicidal thoughts
- Changes in weight or appetite
- Feelings of shame, guilt, and worthlessness
Seek the help of a qualified professional, such as a counsellor, therapist, or psychologist, if you notice signs of depression.
Make Seniors Feel That They’re Needed
Everyone, regardless of your age, wants to feel useful and needed. When you’re taking care of elderly people in your household, make the effort to remind them that they’re not a burden to you or any other member of the family. Ask them for assistance with household tasks that they can handle, such as:
- Helping you shop for groceries
- Folding clothes
- Preparing dinner
- Organising contents inside the drawers
- Writing lists for grocery shopping
- Answering the phone
Keep Your Elderly Loved One Moving
Don’t let your ageing senior stay stuck inside their home. If possible, encourage physical activity. Regular exercise offers the following benefits:
- Helps relieve anxiety
- Strengthens the immune system
- Increases stamina, energy, and strength
- Improves sleep
- Boosts heart health
A few easy and safe workouts that seniors can do to stay fit are:
- Chair squats
- Wall push-ups
- Tippy toe lifts
- Chair yoga
Keep the Mind Sharp and Engaged
Mental stimulation helps seniors maintain and improve cognitive function. They also help the elderly preserve a sense of well-being. A few activities that can stimulate the mind are brain games such as crossword puzzles, Sudoku, trivia, and chess.
These are just a few suggestions to improve the quality of life of the elderly. Seniors can maintain a good quality of life when they form good habits and eliminate ones that are making them feel depressed.