Age has a way of affecting our mental wellbeing, especially past retirement age. Visits from family and friends become scarce, a lot of important people are lost along the way, and then there are age-related health complications to deal with as well. It’s during times like these that seniors need more attention and a little help from those around them to feel better. Whether you are a professional in the field of senior care, or you are just taking care of an aging family member, the following suggestions will help.
Make Time to Converse with Them
When you have no one to talk with, it’s not just a very depressing situation to be in, but it can also have a detrimental effect on your neurological wellbeing. Studies have proven beyond doubt that isolated seniors have a significantly higher chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease faster than seniors who socialize regularly. In fact, neurodegeneration tends to progress at a much faster rate in socially isolated seniors than their socially engaged peers.
Take some time out from your schedule and meet them as regularly as you practically can. While you are visiting them, focus on conversing with them on any topic of their choosing. The idea is to listen more than you speak but provide relevant input when needed to carry the conversation forward. In most instances, elders will talk a lot more than you, which is the goal here because it will make them feel lighter and better.
Pay Attention to What they Say
If you care about the senior(s) under your care, you must ask them about their physical and mental wellbeing regularly. It’s not as much about immediate action as it is about giving them an outlet to vent. However, you should always pay attention to what they are saying, so that you can report the same to their doctor during the next appointment.
Never ignore a health complaint made by a senior, especially if it’s affecting their health and wellbeing. For example, dysphagia or swallowing difficulty is a very common health issue among the aged. If they are complaining about it, then you must take it very seriously as it’s almost always a symptom of some underlying disease.
Book an appointment with their doctor for a medical checkup and introduce them to SimplyThick thickening gel for food and beverages. In most cases, the thickeners act as effective deterrents against chances of starvation, malnutrition, dehydration, and choking hazards related to dysphagia. Food and beverage thickeners can keep oral nutrition and hydration open as an option even in extreme cases at times. This can negate or at least delay the need to insert a gastrostomy tube or a jejunostomy tube.
Engage them in Interactive Activity Sessions
We have already discussed vocal interactions, but that’s not all that you can do. You should try to either divide your time between conversations and activity sessions, or you can continue engaging them on both fronts simultaneously. The following activities are found to be highly effective in not just lifting people’s mood, but also for keeping neuro degradation at bay too.
- Go for light jogs, powerwalks, or walks with them and converse along the way.
- Play a few games of chess, checkers, monopoly, Scrabble, and the like while discussing any topic of interest.
- Introduce them to racing games and engage in a few rounds of friendly competition around the tracks.
At the center of it all are the keywords ‘attention’ and ‘action.’ As long as you are paying attention to the elders under your care and taking actions to help them, you are already improving lives.