6 Ways to Help Keep Seniors Mentally Sharp
What do you suppose the biggest determining factor is when calculating how long you will live? Is it a healthy lifestyle? Not smoking or drinking? Family history?
Actually, it’s none of those.
The biggest determinant of how long you will live is how long you have already lived. Statistically speaking if you make it through your formative years, that is your teens and twenties, you’re likely to live to a ripe old age. That old age, however, doesn’t come without health issues. Those issues generally mean that the majority of people that live past age 50 will require assisted living or nursing care before they die.
Keeping Seniors Safe and Healthy While they Receive Care
If you have aging parents that require care, it’s important to help them maintain their quality of life. We have put together a list of 6 safe ways that you can spend time with your elderly loved ones to ensure they feel loved.
- Don’t stop visiting. Suppose you were unable to get out and socialize, how long would it take before you started to feel lonely and unloved? A recent study shows that 40% of nursing home residents suffer from feelings of loneliness. A simple visit for 10 to 15 minutes is all it takes to change their mood, so just stopping in to say “hello” is a really easy way to improve one’s mental health.
- Bring family photo albums. Just as the body wears out with age, so does the mind. Many seniors find memories fleeting and dementia begins to set in. While there is still no cure for these diseases, there are ways to temporarily dispel the effects. One such way: remember the good times by looking back through family photos. Jogging the memory with scrapbooks and photo albums has been found to be therapeutic for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and other dementia disorders. It’s not a cure, but it helps bring comfort.
- Play their favorite tunes. Similar to photos, music has a profound effect on the brain. Those favorite songs that slipped away and been forgotten can trigger deep memories that help to calm, relax, and improve the moods of all those living in assisted living or nursing care. Listening to music is so impactful that it actually led to a decline in the amount of medication that residents in one California nursing home were going through on a daily basis, and helped to reduce aggressive behaviors.
- Go for a picnic. Depending on if your loved one is physically able to leave the nursing home building, a short walk and a picnic can do wonders for their mental and physical health. Getting outside to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, combined with some of their favorite foods that may not be available from their dining room, means they get to build loving memories that they can easily remember from day to day.
- Read with them. Let’s face it; we’re not all great with making conversation all the time. Often, visiting our elderly loved ones is skipped over simply because we don’t know what to talk about with them. Here’s a great way to ensure quality time, without having to force conversation: read with them. Find a book that you both enjoy, and spend some time reading aloud. It stimulates the mind, allows your elderly parents or loved ones to feel cared for, and eliminates some of those awkward silences.
- Perform arts and crafts. Loneliness and depression often go hand-in-hand. Traditional treatments for depression, such as medication and therapy, can work well, but there’s another method that will help to calm the soul. Crafting has been found to be a great way to reduce anxiety and depression and help stabilize the mood in the future. Quality time and a mental health boost for both of you; now that’s a win-win!
Fritz Law Helps with Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing homes are a great way to help ensure quality of life as our loved ones age. Unfortunately, abuse and neglect often arise in some situations. If you have a loved one that isn’t being cared for in an assisted living or nursing facility, give us a call and let us help.