For seniors, living in a constantly changing world can be overwhelming and confusing. We live in a world of technological advancements, and societal and political situations that can cause fear and anxiety in anyone. The world isn’t what it once was and it can be difficult for seniors to adapt to the changes taking place. Having a health condition can be difficult for seniors as well, especially if they have a physical disability like arthritis that causes them pain and discomfort. If you are a caregiver, it is important that you create an atmosphere that is stress-free and relaxing for the senior in your life.
Seniors spent their entire life taking care of others. Retirement is their time to rest and reap the benefits that years of hard work earned them. Make sure that the senior in your life is living in conditions that bring them safety and security. Help relieve the stresses in their life.
For some seniors not working or staying active can be stressful in itself. Not being able to do the things they once enjoyed, and even losing their life partner can be emotionally crippling for some. You can help add a little sunshine to their life. Let’s explore some practical ways.
Ways to reduce stress
Own an animal If a senior doesn’t have allergy issues, having a pet might help cope with stress, anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that owning a pet can help seniors cope with stress, lower blood pressure, increase social interaction and even help them learn. Cats are known for their soothing and relaxing qualities.
Take a nice walk Some seniors are limited in their mobility. Having a walker may help make walking easier if they are physically disabled or in a wheelchair. Take them out for a stroll. Take a walk through a forest if you can. In Japan, there is a common practice called forest bathing that is said to be a stress reliever. Walking through nature is healing. It also helps fight anxiety and disease.
Avoid negativity If you are caring for a senior, try to avoid adding any stress to them. Turn the TV off every once in awhile and take them outside. Plan fun activities that will allow them the opportunity to engage and interact with other seniors in a positive setting. If the senior you watch is living alone or in a retirement home, help them stay active. If there are community events like an ice cream social or a game of bingo, sign them up for it. Some buildings may even offer free exercise programs. Keeping in mind any physical limitations, make sure to use sensitivity and understanding. Some seniors aren’t as comfortable in social gatherings. Don’t push them too hard. Be patience and understanding.
Vitamin Intake The older one gets the more the bones weaken. Seniors who are dealing with osteoporosis and arthritis are under much pain and stress. Vitamin C and D are boosters that help regulate calcium levels and fight fatigue and depression.
Have a nice conversation over coffee
Often the best stress-reliever for most seniors is a quiet and stress-free environment. Play classical music or songs that they enjoy. Sit down with them, have a cup of joe and enjoy a nice and healthy conversation. Who doesn’t enjoy a good story? Seniors have a lifetime of stories to tell, and like anyone, they appreciate someone taking the time to listen. Have some fun and enjoy a good laugh while you’re at it! Laughter is after all medicine.
What can you do to improve your mood, manage stress, remain cognitively agile, and improve your overall health? No matter what age you are, physical activity is crucial for your mental and physical wellbeing. If you’re hoping to have more energy even as you get older, exercise is a great way to do it. It has the ability to keep you living independently longer, and your risk of disease decreases. So as a senior, what are some good ways to stay active, and how can you do it safely? Here are some things to keep in mind.
- Start Slow & Take It Easy
If it’s been a while since you’ve been physically active, make sure you start slowly. The goal is to stay as healthy as possible. You’ll really want to ease yourself into exercise so you don’t sustain any kind of injury whatsoever. Don’t push yourself too hard – listen to what your body is telling you. Work your way up in intervals of maybe 10 or 15 minutes. Give yourself time and space to breathe.
- Make It a Priority
It’s important to understand that in order to really maximize the benefits of being active, it should be done on a regular basis. Try to develop of a routine for yourself. Having a somewhat steady routine in general can also help boost your mood. It might be easiest to try exercising first thing in the morning. Motivate yourself to get going – that way you can treat yourself by relaxing later in the day.
- Get Social
Invite a couple of friends to get active with you! Use this as a time where you can socialize and catch up with everyone while also doing something great for your health. The more you enjoy what you’re doing, the more you’ll want to do it!
- Make It Fun – Do What Works for You
What do you enjoy? You might try walking, gardening, yoga, or water aerobics. This is a great opportunity for you to explore some things you may have never tried before. Get creative, and make your daily exercise something that you have fun doing!
Switch it up occasionally as well. On nice days you can go for brisk walks with friends or put a pair of headphones in with your favorite music while you work in the yard. Walking is also great because you can do it indoors if the weather isn’t great. Water aerobics, swimming and yoga can also be done indoors, so you can get yearlong enjoyment out of them.
Consider different activities that can help improve your endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance. When you do lots of different activities, you reap the benefits of many different types of exercises.
- Listen to Your Doctor
Always consult with you doctor before trying anything new. It’s so important that he or she is up to date on what you’re doing. If you’re at risk for heart disease or have any health concerns whatsoever, it’s especially important you talk with your doctor beforehand. Safety is the number one priority! Listen to your doctor, listen to your body and have fun staying active!
As you grow older, your driving patterns will change and a time will come when you might have to give up your keys. According to Mushkatel, Robbins, & Becker, “Barely half of Americans 65 and older held a driver’s license in the early 1970s. Today, 84% of seniors have a license”. It is important to recognize when that is the case. This does not mean the end of your independence, as there are a number of ways you can get around without hassle. This might mean making a switch to what can be a safer and healthier lifestyle for you in your senior years. Your body will give you signs to let you know that your driving patterns have become harmful, and it is necessary to pay attention to those signs. Here’s how to recognize these warning signs.
Health Related Complications
Some of the early warning signs that your age might be interfering with your driving are usually health related. One of the most common complications are health issues that affect your eyesight. If you have an eye condition that affects your vision that is a very clear indication that you should give up your keys. While such a condition might not directly affect your ability to see, it might compromise your night vision, making it difficult for you to drive in the dark. This could also be sensitivity to light or blurred vision.
Loss of Hearing
Loss of hearing could also be a very important sign, since your hearing is vital to your continued safety on the road. If you find that you are increasingly unaware of people honking around you or other safety cues necessary for the road, then you might need to reconsider your decision to keep driving.
If you are on constant medication, you should confirm with your healthcare provider if it is okay for you to keep driving, This is because the side effects of certain medication includes an inability to drive. The same goes should you discover that your reflexes seem to have slowed down and you are finding it increasingly difficult to react as swiftly as you should when you are driving.
Another key health related complication stems from memory loss. Getting lost or missing your way once in a while can happen to anyone. However, if this happens regularly, then you should seek professional help and suspend driving until you hear from your doctor.
Difficulty with Normal Driving Routine
When driving gradually becomes more stressful and you find yourself having difficulty with normal driving routine such as forgetting to turn on your lights, making sudden turns without using your signal or even breaking for no reason, then your driving has probably turned harmful. Also, if you find that you are increasingly having close calls such as near crashes and dents on your car, then that is a warning sign as well.
Benefits of Not Driving
Giving up driving does have several benefits. Not driving may not be easy for you at first, particularly if you have been driving your entire life and it is something you enjoy doing. Nevertheless, deciding not to drive can save your life and the lives of others sharing the road with you. Some benefits include:
Expand Your Network – This is a good way to meet people and expand your social network. If you are reluctant to ask a friend or neighbor for a ride, you can trade something in exchange.
Save on Gasoline and other costs – Owning and keeping a car can be a drain on the resources. Giving up your car means that you save on gasoline and other related costs.
Reduce health risks – In seeking alternative ways of transportation, you might decide to walk or maybe cycle to nearby destinations. These are great ways of incorporating exercise into your lifestyle, thereby reducing health risks.
Increase safety on the roads – Another benefit of not driving is ensuring increased safety on the roads. You greatly reduce the chances of a crash and keep the road safe for you and for other users.
Are you ready to give up your keys? How did you make the transition?