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5 Tips to Improve an Elderly’s Quality of Life

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Recent years have seen average life expectancy go up. Added years also mean physiological and psychological changes in seniors. Lesser mobility, reduced mental abilities, chronic health conditions, and emotional and financial insecurities are the challenges that can hamper the elderly’s quality of life. Just breathing and accomplishing routine tasks will not keep the seniors happy. 

While the older adults value the extra years added, they also value feeling healthy, useful, independent, retaining dignity, and not feeling like a burden. Good quality of life is important for older adults as it ensures that they are happy and will age with grace. It indicates having a purpose, doing enjoyable activities, and promoting involvement. Seniors appreciate having close relations, feelings of peace, security, and freedom. 

Productive engagement of seniors can mean reduced stress, better mobility, and a positive perception of life. Studies prove that improving the quality of life for the elderly results in positive health outcomes, fewer chronic illnesses, lesser disability, and reduced mortality.

Here's what we can do to help improve the quality of life in older adults and enable them to have a healthier life full of positivity.

1. Introduce Them to Mobility Aids:

Reduced mobility in advanced years can lead to feelings of depression and isolation. Moreover, it can also result in falls and fall-related injuries. Consequently, the seniors can develop a fear of falling, loss of confidence, and restricted movement. 

Introducing mobility aids for seniors can help avoid these adverse effects and help seniors feel more independent. Research proves that assistive devices can improve balance and mobility and promote safety and independence.

Various assistive devices are available in the market, such as canes, walkers, step2bed stools, step2tub stools, wheelchairs, etc. These assistive devices make moving around and getting in or out of beds, toilets, and bathtubs easier. Consultation with a medical professional is necessary before you choose a mobility aid best suited to the needs of your loved one.

2. Help Them Feel Useful and Needed:

A sense of purpose and usefulness keeps seniors healthy and happy. When seniors feel needed, they are less likely to experience strokes, heart diseases, and cognitive impairment risks. 

Often, seniors begin to feel that they are not needed now and are a burden. Involving them in routine chores will make them feel useful and keep such feelings at bay. According to their willingness, ability, and interest, you can request the seniors to:

  • Help with the grandchildren’s homework.

  • Folding laundry.

  • Chopping vegetables.

  • Organizing drawers.

  • Watering the plants and taking care of them.

  • Helping with other mealtime preparations.

  • Making to-do lists.

  • Reading to the grandchildren.

  • Paying the bills and/or keeping track of the due date of bills.

Involving them in the above or any other activities they volunteer for will ensure they contribute productively.

3. Encourage Regular Physical Activity:

Physical activity is most beneficial across all ages. An elderly’s quality of life stands to gain significantly by a few minutes of physical exercise daily. For important health benefits, seniors must move more and sit less. Trying to incorporate more activity into their routine will help keep them active. Physical activity is an excellent way to control chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases, and arthritis. WHO recommends including aerobic, strength, and balance exercises in the senior’s physical activity routine. If the chronic conditions deter the older adults from following these guidelines, they can perform activities that their ability and conditions allow. Moreover, staying physically active will:

  • Improve strength,

  • Improve balance,

  • Uplift mood,

  • Keep away feelings of depression,

  • Improve cognitive function, 

  • Build flexibility, and

  • Increase energy.

Seniors don’t have to do rigorous exercises. Gentle exercises that will not strain their body and, as per the advice of their medical caretaker, will promote easier movement and reduce pain.

4. Keep Them Mentally Active:

Mental health in advancing years is as important as physical health. Over 20% of older adults suffer from neurological disorders. Often mental problems are undiagnosed and sometimes ignored due to the rampant stigma surrounding these conditions. Poor health, reduced mobility, change in financial status, bereavement, and chronic pain are a few of the causes of mental imbalance. 

These life changes can have serious consequences such as depression, anxiety, dementia, or other psychological issues. Hence it is important to promote mental health enhancement strategies that can help improve the elderly’s quality of life. Mental stimulation keeps the grey cells active and ensures that the seniors maintain their cognitive abilities.

There are simple and easy ways to keep the elders to stay alert and keep their minds sharp. It can be beneficial to encourage seniors to:

  • Play brain-stimulating games like crosswords, puzzles, bridge, etc. 

  • Pick up old hobbies or adopt new ones.

  • Consume nutritional food.

  • Learn something new like a musical instrument, painting, craft, language, etc.

  • Follow a proper daily schedule.

  • Socialize.

  • Read.

  • Listen to music.

  • Get a pet.

Keeping the seniors mentally active may help retard age-related decline of mental abilities, in addition to decreasing stress and increasing self-esteem and confidence.

5. Help Them Stay Connected:

Final Thought:

There are many health risks associated with loneliness and social isolation. According to a study, they can be twice as harmful as obesity. Loneliness can increase the risk of mortality and other brain-related illnesses like depression and anxiety. Staying socially connected is crucial to the overall well-being of all humans. 

Helping the seniors stay connected is an excellent way to address the issue of social isolation and loneliness. There are many ways to help the seniors stay connected:

  • Have a call schedule. Call them up regularly; this serves two purposes: 

  1. This ensures you of their safety, and

  2. They feel happy hearing a loved one’s voice.

  • Arrange for a lunch or dinner date at their favorite restaurant.

  • Drop by often to meet and chat with them or arrange for friends. 

  • Introduce and teach them the wonders of technology. Video chatting, con calls, Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. 

  • Encourage them to join the local activity groups and ensure that they participate. 

  • Encourage them to volunteer. Giving back to society is a very self-satisfying activity.

While helping the seniors stay connected, ensure that they are willing to socialize and are happy with this activity. Also, while introducing them to technology, update them with the perils of social media and the precautions they must adhere to. 

Successful aging is not just adding ‘years to life,’ it is adding ‘life to years.’ Better mobility, reduced illnesses, better resilience, better physical and mental health, and better overall wellbeing all indicate a life well lived!

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