According to research, over 2 billion people worldwide will be senior citizens by 2050. This statistic means that most of the world’s population is aging, calling for reliable systems to make life comfortable for older adults when they hit this stage. Aging brings various challenges that impact the quality of life, but the measures you take can make a significant difference in making it enjoyable. With 54.1 million adults in the US classified as senior citizens, chances are you live close to at least one elderly person. These are some practical suggestions for improving seniors’ quality of life.
Encourage regular physical activity
Mobility is often a major health impediment in older adults and can restrict how much physical activity can be done in a day. Thankfully, there are different ways to complete a set of exercises without conventional running, jogging, or brisk walking. Swimming, gardening, and walking with aid if you have mobility issues are perfect examples. For older adults who are still mobile, walking is a great routine to adhere to. As a caregiver, you must ensure that the environment for such exercises is safe. For example, is the outdoor walking path filled with weeds and crawling plants? These can become hazards and increase the risk of falls among older people. It is also important to know that certain medical conditions may inhibit an elderly person from engaging in certain physical activities. For example, older adults with severe cardiac conditions may need to avoid exercises that stress their hearts excessively. Finding out from the primary care physician if certain physical activities are ideal is also crucial.
Promote healthy eating habits
While it’s true that senior citizens require balanced diets to boost their immune systems, you may have to put a lot more thought into their daily meals. Eating the same amount of fats a younger person will need may be unhealthy for older adults. On the other hand, a lot more vegetables and fruits will be vital in their daily meals. For seniors with diabetes, it helps to carefully select the right fruits, as some contain high sugars. For example, overripe bananas and watermelon contain a glycemic index of 70 to 100, which can be too high for a person managing their blood sugar index. Therefore, moderation is essential.
Furthermore, it is critical to limit the intake of processed foods because of their high sodium and fat contents. On the other hand, whole grains and lean proteins are ideal for senior citizens, whether they have chronic conditions or not. To make this simpler, it helps to plan their meals and rely heavily on prepping. That saves time and provides a variety of beneficial meals for an older adult. Still on healthy eating habits, do not forget to encourage the proper timing of their meals. Healthy snacks between main meals are also recommended, as they complement the diet plan.
Make it easy for senior citizens to access quality healthcare
Not all senior citizens have mobility problems, making moving from one place to the next easy. However, despite the cognitive decline and certain impediments, access to healthcare must be possible with your help. That includes regular visits to the doctor, taking medications as scheduled, and seeing a specialist when needed. Your responsibility is to enable your senior citizen to access the necessary healthcare. First, you must know the medical conditions an elderly person is living with. Having this background information helps you plan their healthcare access. Knowing about it may compel you to read more about the condition. When you have background information about an elderly person’s health, you put yourself in a better position to offer relevant help whenever needed.
Provide opportunities for social interaction
Research reveals that one of the most common mental health problems among older people is depression. Further studies also indicate that social isolation and loneliness are major causes of depression in this group. With this in mind, providing opportunities or avenues that encourage social interaction for your care subject is important. Sometimes all it takes is convincing to get an older adult to join community clubs or participate in events. Volunteerism is a great way to get senior citizens to interact more with people, especially their peers. After retirement, many elderly persons have free hours, which they may not use as much as possible. That explains why careful planning is essential to fill those hours with programs and activities that motivate them to want more. You may want to consider elderly community living or facilities meant to give senior citizens more independence. Better yet, if an elderly person needs more help, you can search for assisted living near me in a credible search engine to see the available options.
Address mental health concerns quickly
Mental health is critical in senior years, and treatment can be elusive until you get to the root of it. Many factors, such as social withdrawal, could cause depressive and anxiety episodes. In that case, active participation in social events may resolve the issue. On the other hand, serious mental health disorders like dementia and psychosis must be treated by a specialist in the field. These usually manifest as memory loss, confusion, poor judgment, difficulty speaking and so on. When you notice these signs, you should seek early treatment for the elderly person in your care. According to health experts, mental health deteriorates quickly in older adults, and when that happens, things can get out of hand, making treatment longer and more expensive. That is why prompt treatment is highly recommended, especially among senior citizens. It would help to also provide resources such as support groups and counseling to complement any other therapy they may be undergoing.
Indeed, you can help improve the quality of life for seniors, but it takes a lot of planning and strategizing. The above tips can guide you in providing the best care for any senior so that they can enjoy a fulfilling and healthy life.