Updated: Nov 16
With so many changes happening, it’s important to keep seniors in mind. Many are struggling to remain positive during COVID-19, which limits what they can do from day-to-day. This new way of life can make seniors even more prone to mood swings and depression, and as the future still remains uncertain, there’s no better time to consider how we can work together to improve the lives of seniors.
Many seniors find new meaning when they enter a senior living community. The community grounds allow them to move around safely and engage with a community of similarly aged people. Communities, like ours at Yuma Senior Living, provide ample amenities to their residents that can greatly add to their overall happiness and comfort, and we also have staff members who are devoted to making our residents happier. The goal, no matter where a senior is living, is to do what we can to make their lives better—so let’s get to it.
Here are a few ways we can help to improve the lives of seniors.
Encourage Physical Activity
Making sure that seniors get a good amount of physical activity each day is a great way to improve their lives. The benefits that come from physical activity are numerous, including a sense of freedom at being able to move around on their own. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that physical activity can also prevent many of the health problems that come with aging.
Senior living communities encourage physical activity in a number of ways. The most convenient way is by having a community that allows residents to get around on their own. Many people have to leave their homes because there are too many stairs or other obstacles that prevent them from staying safe. Senior living communities have an accessible layout as well as large outdoor courtyards to enjoy, which are both convenient for seniors. Knowing that they can safely get from point A to point B gives residents more incentive to do so. The community itself, in addition to amenities open and expansive coutyards, allows residents to have a safe way to keep their bodies in good shape.
Ask Them for Help
It can be tough for seniors to ask for help. Many are used to being the caretakers themselves, and it can be a hard transition to become the person who needs help. Losing the feeling of being needed in that way can contribute to seniors feeling down, but there are ways that we can combat that. Improving seniors’ lives can be as easy as asking them for help so that they can feel that they’re useful.
There are many things that seniors can be helpful with, and assigning them small tasks can also be helpful to you. Gathering coupons, feeding small animals, and folding laundry are just a few daily tasks that are easy for seniors to assist with. Feeling like they’re contributing will make them feel useful. It may seem like a small task, but giving them this opportunity can improve their lives greatly.
Monitor Symptoms of Depression
During times of change, seniors can be more prone to moments of sadness. Whether it’s due to entering retirement, losing a spouse, or leaving their home to join a senior living community, sadness is typical, but depression isn’t. Depression is not a normal part of the aging process, though seniors can be more likely to develop depression than younger people. One of the best things we can do to improve seniors’ lives is to monitor them for symptoms of depression so that we can help them to feel better sooner.
Depression is more serious than just feeling sad, as it can cause seniors to have trouble with daily life for weeks or months at a time. Symptoms may include feelings of hopelessness, moving or talking more slowly, decreased energy, and frequent crying. If you notice these symptoms in your loved one, you can advise them to make an appointment with their healthcare provider to receive treatment should they need it. A doctor will be able to diagnose the condition correctly and recommend a treatment plan that works well for them.
Help Them Maintain Contact with Family and Friends
Staying connected with friends and family is a great way for seniors to continue to enjoy their lives. Still, some may struggle to keep those connections, despite their best efforts. Helping seniors to continue to stay in contact with friends and family is a great way to improve their lives, and it isn’t very hard to do.
Cell phones weren’t always around, and when they weren’t, seniors were still able to keep in contact with the people they loved. Writing letters is a favorite pastime of many seniors and can be a great way to exercise their minds as well as maintain their relationships with people. Another way to help seniors maintain relationships is by offering to assist them with technology that might be hard for them to use. Helping them to send emails, teaching them to text, or setting up a video call can all be helpful ways to keep them in contact with others.
When it comes to socialization for seniors, there are few places better than a senior living community. This environment is unique because so many of the residents are around the same age. Unlike more standard communities, the people living in a senior living community already have something in common and can bond over the years they’ve all lived through. With social events and many community areas that encourage socialization, it won’t be as hard for them to interact with others.
Keep Them Mentally Engaged
Life is more enjoyable when you have a purpose. Seniors have often served many purposes in their lifetimes, such as raising a family or having thriving careers. Growing older may cause those purposes to change, but that doesn’t mean their life has to slow down, as many seniors have found new meaning through enriching hobbies.
There are many hobbies that seniors can enjoy that can both make them feel fulfilled as well as keep them mentally engaged. Word puzzles and sudoku are both fun games that keep the brain working hard to solve problems. Other hobbies, such as knitting or sewing, can be done while seated but take mental concentration to be done well. Offering fun hobbies for seniors to take up or teaching them how to do them are also great ways to help them improve their lives.
If you’re in the Southern Arizona area and are considering a move to a senior living community, we’d love for you to contact us at Yuma Senior Living.