When you have aging loved ones in your family, it’s very important to take good care of them during those sunset years of their lives. This care doesn’t just mean attending to their physical and medical needs - it should also comprise all other needs for a holistic care surrounding both their emotional and mental health. As their age progresses, it’s common to find many seniors going through a cognitive decline, memory problems, and even emotional concerns, like loneliness, among many others.
While emotional concerns are normal, this doesn’t mean that it’s normal for seniors to have anxiety and depression. A part of the love you give them should include ensuring their mental well-being is in tip-top shape.
This article gives you some of the best things you can do to enhance the mental well-being of your aging loved ones. Read on to find out.
1. Engage in Physical Activities
If you notice your aging family members are suddenly just living a sedentary lifestyle, you may want to encourage them to also engage in physical activities. Exercise is important, not just for physical health, but also for mental well-being. In fact, exercise can also be a good avenue to lower stress or for them to simply have a happier state of mind.
Low-impact exercises, like stretching, can make all the difference, as compared to just sitting at home alone the entire day. Doing so also gives you (and them) newfound confidence that they can move around better, with a reduced risk of accidents as well.
It's for this reason that it’s also advantageous for you to provide well-trained caregivers for your aging family members. Good caregivers will have gone through the best manual handling for carers and other necessary trainings to ensure top standard all the time.
2. Allow Them to Learn a New Craft or Hobby
Is there anything you know of that your senior loved ones have long wanted to learn doing? Now that they actually have the time for it, it’s a good time to enrol them in classes to learn a new craft or hobby. Look around your local area, and, perhaps, you can find options for your senior family members to try out.
Learning a new craft or hobby brings about a lot of benefits for your aging loved ones. First off, it gives their brain a chance to exercise as they’re learning something new. It also flies by time, so they don’t feel bored during the day, doing nothing productive. And, most importantly, it also gives your loved ones a chance to socialize with others through the classmates they meet during those hobby classes. All these can be good for maintaining your senior family members’ mental well-being.
3. Play Mind Thinking Games
Whenever you meet or visit your aging loved ones, make it a lot more fun by playing mind thinking games. Think about board games or anything you feel suits their fancy. You can also leave those board games with them at home, so whenever they have other senior friends over, or, perhaps, even with their in-home care nurse, your senior loved ones can play any time they please.
Exercising the brain regularly is a very important facet of preventing cognitive decline. Thinking games, in particular, can sharpen their thinking skills. These include processing decisions, speed, short-term memory, and reaction time. Apart from board games, other activities that can bring about those benefits include:
Reading and writing - You may want to encourage your aging loved ones to read a book or to start writing a journal.
Learning a language - Even if it’s only for fun now during this season of their life.
No matter how busy you may be, always be there emotionally and mentally for your aging family members. Even if it’s not through a physical visit for now, make it a point to call daily, if you can. Seniors aren’t meant to live in isolation. And, they’ll surely crave the company of their family members as well. It doesn’t hurt to schedule regular visits during your holidays, and to simply make your loved ones feel that you’re still there for them to talk to.
On your absence, encourage your aging family members to engage in other social activities. For instance, there may be morning exercise sessions for seniors at the park, or there could be afternoon tea sessions, meals, or dance and disco nights. Bringing your senior family members to those activities can ensure they still have the social interaction they need by making friends, conversing with others, and meeting new people.
It's important to take good care of your aging loved ones. This care includes all their needs—medical, physical, mental, and emotional concerns. If you slack on the emotional and mental well-being aspect of your aging loved ones, they may even feel weaker and sicker than they really are, physically. Note that one’s mental health can also significantly affect your physical health as these two go hand-in-hand. The tips above can give you a good head start on taking good care of your aging loved ones.