As they get older, seniors begin to face a whole series of new challenges to their well-being:
- Loneliness and social isolation
- Lack of adequate nutrition
- Health problems such as hearing impairment
- Ageism and a lost sense of purpose
- Financial insecurity
- Difficulty with everyday tasks and mobility
Along with monitoring their physical health, it is vital that your senior loved ones are encouraged to support their mental health. After all, self-care is for everyone.
What Do We Mean By ‘Self-Care’?
Self-care can be defined in many ways and looks different for every individual person. According to the World Health Organization:
“Self-Care is what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness.”
In a nutshell, it's about looking after yourself and doing the things that make you feel cared for.
Here are 5 self-care activities your senior loved ones may find helpful to support their mental and physical well-being.
#1 - Connecting With Others
Social connection for seniors plays an integral role in their mental, emotional and physical health. According to an in-depth report on aging and health from the World Health Organization, social connectedness may result in positive health benefits, including:
- Disease prevention
- Lower rates of anxiety
- Stronger immune system
- And improved cognitive function.
#2 - Practicing Mindfulness and Relaxation
The main purpose of mindfulness and relaxation practices are to help you achieve a relaxed state of mind by increasing your awareness of your present thoughts, emotions, and feelings. Research on the effectiveness of relaxation techniques in elderly populations shows they can reduce the effects of undue anxiety, stress and loneliness on the brain - which could be risk factors for dementia.
#3 - Reading
Reading isn’t just a hobby; it is a form of self-care. I’m sure most of us can relate to the joy of being swept away into a fascinating book we can't put down. For seniors, scientific studies have found many benefits of reading, including everything from reducing stress and enhancing sleep to improving memory circuits, sharpening decision-making and possibly even delaying the onset of dementia.
If your senior loved ones are looking to economize, remember to make use of their nearest library (also a great place to socialize) or look for free eBooks that can be read on a device like a Kindle.
#4 - Doing Something Creative
Creative self-care is all about feeding your soul and giving you that excited feeling to make something new. For elderly people, creative activities can be related to their existing hobbies such as pottery, singing, dancing, gardening, knitting or painting. The sense of achievement that comes from getting creative will help your elderly loved ones to feel calm and content, and could even boost their self-esteem.
#5 - Spending More Time in Nature
According to the American Psychological Association, spending time in nature is linked to both cognitive benefits and improvements in mood, mental health and emotional well-being. Regularly spending time outside can create opportunities for social interactions, which can happen when meeting new people or spending quality time with loved ones and friends. If they are safe to do so, elderly adults can also benefit from low impact, light and safe outdoor exercise - like hiking or yoga.
We Make Health and Wellness a Priority
At Veranda of Pensacola, we are committed to helping our residents maintain the healthiest lifestyle possible. We understand that everyone has their own preferred way of taking care of themselves, so we provide a variety of options. To find out more about our health and wellness services click here, or reach out to us on (850) 780-8677.