Despite the common stereotype that happiness decreases with age, seniors aren’t inherently cranky. In fact, Scientific American reports aging can actually increase happiness. At the same time, seniors are at greater risk for developing depression than any other age group due to a combination of loneliness and significant life changes that occur in a short amount of time. You can help your aging loved one increase happiness right now by encouraging him or her to engage in simple activities and make some healthy lifestyle changes.
1. Encourage Movement
It’s true that exercise increases feel-good endorphins, which are natural chemicals that can calm the nerves and reduce stress. After exercising, seniors may feel more relaxed and energized instead of depressed, sad, and lackluster. When done on a regular basis, working out promotes long-term good mood. Don’t let your loved one assume he or she can’t exercise because of limited mobility—while certain workouts are off-limits, even a short, slow walk around the block can boost happiness. Some of the best happiness-boosting exercises for aging adults are:
• Bike riding
• Tai chi
A professional caregiver can help your loved one exercise at home in safety and comfort. Dallas senior care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.
2. Clean the Home
A clean, uncluttered home can make anyone feel better. While some seniors have difficulty with certain tasks, try to involve your loved one as much as possible so he or she feels like he or she is making a contribution. For example, participating in cleaning out his or her closets of old unused clothing can make your loved one feel useful, thereby boosting overall mood.
3. Set a Nap Time
The optimal amount of sleep for seniors is seven to nine hours per night. However, your loved one might need a bit more shut-eye to boost overall mood and wellbeing. Set a nap time during the afternoon for some extra rejuvenation.
4. Get Crafty
Arts and crafts aren’t just for children. The creativity involved in participating in these activities benefits people of all ages, especially seniors who might otherwise feel unskilled. Start with small activities that match your loved one’s motor skills. Options might include painting, stenciling, and sewing.
5. Connect with Old Friends
A recent study conducted at the University of California, Berkeley found an active social life increased happiness in seniors while also decreasing the risk of dementia. Encourage your loved one to make phone calls, send messages via email, text, or social media, and set coffee dates with old friends.
For families living in Dallas, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.
6. Encourage Volunteering
Volunteering makes anyone feel good, but it’s especially beneficial for seniors because it encourages community connections, and it can help aging adults develop a sense of purpose by focusing on the needs of others. Seniors who volunteer tend to have lower rates of depression, reduced stress levels, and an overall positive outlook. Look for opportunities based on your loved one’s abilities, such as answering phones, helping as a greeter at special events, or assisting in a soup kitchen.
Your loved one can stay happier by making healthy lifestyle choices, and a professional caregiver can be a fantastic source of support. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of home care. Dallas families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. Call us today at (214) 363-3400 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.