January of 2023 has been designated as International Quality Of Life Month, and that makes now a great time to begin considering how we can all contribute to making life a little more enjoyable for our senior loved ones. In Oxford and elsewhere in the US, there will be events and activities organized for that purpose, and to show our seniors how important they really are to us. Life doesn’t stop at age 40 or 50, and seniors are entitled to have a certain amount of joy and happiness in their lives, just as everyone else is. Senior home care professionals who help provide ongoing care and companionship for seniors, understand all this and do their best every day to help make life a little more enjoyable for their charges. In this article, we’ll discuss some useful ways that we can all help senior loved ones appreciate their golden years, and bring more value to them.
Provide a sense of purpose
One of the most important things to understand about seniors is that the way we perceive seniors has a direct effect on how they see themselves, and if we consider them valueless, that’s exactly how they will see themselves. That makes it critical for people to provide a sense of purpose for seniors because a huge body of research has shown that when seniors feel they still have a purpose in life, they can be much healthier overall. This is especially true in the emotional and cognitive aspects because they tend to avoid strokes and heart attacks, they’re more active, and they’re more socially engaged. Anyone who lacks a purpose in life may become depressed and think of themselves as useless, and seniors are no exception to the rule.
Find value in daily activities
Most seniors have spent most of their lives having a self-perception that stems from things they accomplish every day. By continuing this on into their senior years, you can help your senior loved ones maintain a level of self-perception because they’ll feel they’re being useful to the family and to the world at large. These activities don’t need to be anything special, because there is certainly plenty of value to be found in meal preparation, babysitting a youngster, weeding the garden, washing dishes, or just doing some simple household cleaning tasks. Anything that a senior is able to do physically, they should be given a chance to accomplish on their own, without adult family members interfering to do it instead.
Help seniors to be socially active
Numerous studies have been conducted to prove that being more socially involved contributes significantly to a senior’s well-being, both physically and mentally. Any senior who is completely withdrawn and has no social interaction is far more likely to become isolated and depressed, and will often disengage mentally as well as physically. Family connections are great, but they probably don’t occur on a regular basis, since most families don’t typically gather without an occasion or event in mind. Social connections can be vital in this regard, so any way that you can help your senior loved one make social connections in the community – possibly a regular senior meeting or community groups – would help immensely.
Volunteering for senior service
There are literally tons of community service programs in need of seniors who can regularly devote time and effort to helping others in need of assistance. One simple way to find some of these programs would be to browse through the National & Community Service website, to find programs in your area in need of volunteers. Some of these initiatives involve having seniors serve as mentors or role models to younger people, providing assistance to physically challenged individuals, or simply providing companionship to people who are considered shut-ins. When your senior becomes involved in a program that helps others, it will almost always give them a better sense of self-worth, and it will give them a sense of purpose.
Help them stay physically active
This is just as important as maintaining a level of mental activity, and it can be a major factor in keeping good overall health for a senior. When a senior is able to stay physically active, it makes a world of difference to their health, and it also helps to stave off loneliness and depression. Exercise releases more endorphins into the system, and since these are the body’s ‘feel good’ hormones, exercise can make your senior feel much better about themselves and their place in life. Our senior loved ones still have a lot to offer the world, and with just a little bit of effort on our part, we can help draw that out of them. Everyone should have the chance to show what they can do and to feel like they’re part of the grand scheme of life.