There are more than 54 million people over the age of 65 in the United States.
While someone over the age of 65 is technically considered a senior, most people don’t feel elderly until well into their 70s or 80s and sometimes even later.
Taking care of your elderly parents or aunts and uncles can be difficult and stressful. However, many people live their older adult years as a happy senior.
In this blog post, we’ll talk about some of the ways you can ensure your parents or older relatives stay happy and healthy. You may even wish to pocket some of these tips for when you begin to age.
Read on for more information.
1. A Happy Senior Socializes
Socialization is key for ensuring that an elderly person stays physically and mentally sound. This is especially the case if they live by themselves or only with their spouse. Older adults can become withdrawn and lonely, especially as their bodies become frailer with age. However, finding accessible ways of socializing is key.
For many older people, this includes things like playing card games with friends, joining special interest clubs, or attending religious services often.
Exercise is also important to help the body stay active, reduce arthritis, help with aches and pains and help keep their weight down. As people age, they can’t always do the things they used to love, like high-impact dancing or sports. However, there are many other ways they can stay in shape.
Community centers often offer things like yoga for the elderly; walks around the neighborhood are a great low-impact activity, as is swimming. Some community centers or gyms also offer swimming, which is a great way for an elderly person to exercise. The water can help provide both resistance and support as they work out.
3. Mental Stimulation
While there is no proven way to stop dementia or Alzheimer’s from setting in, it is known that mental stimulation can help stave it off.
There are many ways an elderly person can stay mentally stimulated. This includes word games, crossword puzzles, Suduko, learning another language, taking a class at a local college, or almost anything where the brain is stimulated.
This can also help older adults retain words and reduce confusion. Some memory loss is normal as one grows older, but keeping the brain in shape can help.
4. Arrange for Them to See Their Family Often
This may not always be easy, as younger families are often busy with work and school. However, if you have an elderly relative, most absolutely love to see their families, especially children. If your parents are aging, make sure you see them as often as you can.
This isn’t always possible for every family, as some live far away from one another. But, if you do live nearby, visit as often as you can.
If you live far away, ensure that you make plans to visit when you can.
5. Seeing Friends
Seeing friends can become difficult as people age, and just as young people miss their friends when they don’t see them in a while, so do older people. Many have close friends they may not have seen in ages or have been unable to keep up with them due to one or both of them having physical issues.
Ensure that your loved one can get together with their friends whenever possible. For many older people, this can be solved by attending weekly clubs or religious services, as their friends may attend those as well. However, if they don’t, making time to help facilitate a friendship reunion is always a delight.
6. Keeping Up with Hobbies
Hobbies are important to younger people, so we can imagine they are still important for older adults. If your family member had hobbies when they were younger, ensure that they keep up with them, even if it is a modified form. For example, if they loved to dance, take them to the ballet whenever you can.
Some of the benefits of senior independent living, if you and your loved one agree that this is best for them, including organizing many events that include common hobbies.
7. Encourage Them to Have a Pet
This, of course, depends on the cognitive abilities of the person in question. However, research shows endless benefits of having pets for the elderly, especially interactive pets like cats and dogs.
Dogs, especially, can help relieve some loneliness, as they love to be with their owners. They can also encourage them to go outside and walk, as a dog will need to be walked every day.
Sometimes, a pet gives an elderly person a sense of purpose for their life. If they previously felt purposeless, a dog depending on them can give them a renewed sense of it.
Keeping Elderly People Happy
A happy senior is most often a healthy senior. It is important that you remember that what creates a happy person is not one size fits all. You’ll need to figure out what truly makes your own elderly friend or relative happy and to work within those parameters to do so. Sure, being healthy and active can create a sense of happiness, but all people need to feel they still have a purpose in this world and have something to look forward to. What that is will be independent to the individual.
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