As our parents age and need more help, life can become increasingly difficult to manage. Here are some tips to help your beloved senior manage the everyday cares of life:
1. Write everything down
Often, losing thoughts can be very concerning, but writing things down can help you remember things whether it’s an hour later or two weeks later. This could look like making a journal where you document every day’s activities or keeping a pad of paper nearby for when you think to call a friend or family member, but can’t do it right away. By writing everything down, you can also process what stressors might be recurring in your life, and take steps to reduce them.
2. Take up a new hobby
Focusing too much on life’s busyness is a sure way to let anxieties fester in seniors, but taking up a hobby allows them to focus on leisure activities. Unlike some other forms of leisure (like television or movies), hobbies allow one to be constructive. Scrapbooking family memories, playing Euchre in a community league, or quilting blankets for the homeless are great hobbies to not only keep the mind engaged, but also help with socializing.
Studies have shown that exercise directly reduces stress levels. Our bodies are made to go into “fight or flight” mode in unexpected and tense situations. When one experiences prolonged stress without the ability to release it as your body anticipates, not only does your body remain tense, but the body can then experience heart problems, digestive system issues, and other bodily functions.
Reading a great book can do several things for senior citizens. First, it is free entertainment that can make one forget about the issues that one might be facing in their own life. Second, reading is known to help increase a person’s mental sharpness and hones memory, vocabulary, and overall communication skills that might otherwise dissipate with age. Third, consistent reading reduces anxiety and lowers blood pressure. Fourth, reading increases analytical thinking, as it causes one to think through the story or article and come to conclusions prior to the end.
5. Go to the Mall
Sometimes, what you need is just to get out of the house. Being cooped up at home can cause one increased anxiety, so going to the mall gives the simple change of scenery one might need. At the mall, shopping opportunities can result in a new outfit, the world’s best candle scent, or a comfy new blanket. Also, for those interested in observing social interactions, the mall provides premium people watching opportunities.
6. Socialize with Friends
Community is an essential part to every life, whether one considers themselves social or not. Introverts and extroverts alike need to be around people, to combat loneliness, relate to life experiences, and share their own stories as well. Just sharing daily experiences can lift one’s spirits and encourage someone else going through the same thing. Strong friendships are a good way to release anxiety, and friends just might give the best advice on how to move forward.
7. Pet the dog
Who doesn’t love petting a cute puppy or kitten? Being in regular contact with animals releases the same hormone as hugging a person, putting one at ease and giving one the overall feeling of happiness. Of course, it would be great if we could all have our own dogs or cats, but sometimes that is not realistic. There may be a neighbor or close friend who has a dog who may need extra attention, or one can volunteer regularly at a pet shelter nearby. One’s day can instantly improve with some puppy kisses!