Staggering medical advances and research in the health sciences have vastly improved the global quality of life expectancy of individuals, with a large role being played by early detection of disease, better management, greater choice of drugs, and other medical interventions.
However, the quality of life for any person is measured by more than just markers of their physical health. Every elderly individual needs mental stimulation, productivity, and social life to feel loved and cared for and get the most out of their retirement years.
1. Health-Related Monitoring & Schedules
While not all seniors have recognizable ailments or major illnesses or conditions weighing them down, it is easier to contract diseases and develop conditions after a certain age. Genetics, diet, and lifestyle play a huge role, but all seniors need to keep track of their blood work and other tests as well as doctor’s notes in a file that can be easily retrieved in case they need to visit the hospital.
Most doctors advise doing basic tests every 6 months or so depending on the individual’s condition, such as arthritis or diabetes. This is also useful because the medication may often need to be adjusted or monitored for side effects.
If you are the caretaker or offspring of a senior parent or family member, you should always have a copy of the list of medications, supplements, and/or injections that must be administered. This should be the case even if the senior is living in an old people’s community or home. While physical health is very important, mental health should never be ignored.
As the caretaker, always watch out for signs of depression or general cognitive decline (arising from the conditions like Alzheimer’s or dementia). Activities like neurotics and certain supplements like Gingko Biloba have been found useful in preventing age-related cognitive decline.
2. The Importance Of Socializing & Maintaining Connections
A factor that determines the quality of life for seniors and people of every age is meaningful connections and friendships that can relieve stress and offer support. It is often said that people that have a strong support system in their lives and plenty of friends and loved ones recover from traumas and illnesses quicker. If seniors are living in a community for the elderly, there are most likely going to be planned activities that keep one’s mind occupied and similar-minded people of the same age group around.
If the elderly individual is not living in a designated community, they should still try to join a club or consider teaching or volunteering on a part-time basis to add that meaning and fulfillment back into their life. The more chances they have of meeting other people, even briefly, the better they will cope with life’s challenges and stresses.
Elderly people can also make a point of spending time with family and loved ones or having picnics and other activities planned with grandchildren. If mobility is a problem due to a health concern, contact a mobility equipment supplier for the best options available for an elderly parent, friend, or family member.
3. A Routine To Keep One Grounded
One of the quickest ways to spiral down into depression is to not have a specific productive routine in one’s daily life. This is especially vital for seniors since they may be retired, their children, if any, would have moved away, and fatigue or health concerns may be cause for lack of vitality in general.
A senior individual should create a routine according to their own personality and preferences and make a point of sticking to it. The routine can be simple, ranging from making home-cooked meals to going for a walk in the park or playing cards with a good friend. Buying a planner to keep track of free events at areas of interest such as museums can also go a long way in creating an interesting and fulfilling life.
Many elderly folks say their retirement years may indeed be some of the best years of their life because they no longer have the pressure of earning or providing for a family and are therefore free to pursue hobbies that give them joy, such as painting, writing, bowling, golfing, or swimming. It is never too late to learn, and many community centers and clubs offer special coaching for elderly citizens for swimming, painting, and language training. Book clubs also promote a sense of comradery among people of similar interests.
4. Volunteering For Great Causes
Having a life that has an impact on other people, particularly underprivileged or suffering individuals, is a very meaningful life indeed. Regardless of age, seniors should look into how they can work with social service organizations and make a difference. It can be teaching or volunteering at a clothes drive or soup kitchen just on the weekends, but it will affect their quality of life dramatically.
Writers and public speakers like Dale Carnegie have spoken at length about the power of helping others and how it can cure depression, lack of motivation, and even lack of energy. Seniors can also join programs that help out people of their own age fight illness or loss. Everyone has a talent they can utilize in the service of a greater cause.
5. Slow Living & Self-Care
Nowadays, there has been a global shift away from troublesome 9 to 5 jobs towards a slower, more mindful way of living. People in all countries and cultures prioritize exercise, reading, self-care, and relaxation over the daily grind. Retirement is the best time to practice these healthy principles and to show yourself the same love and kindness you had previously reserved for other people. Elderly people can use their retirement years to do all the relaxing things they never adequately had time for before.
Whether it is a spa day, a day spent reading, a long shopping trip, or even exploring a new tourist destination, and seniors should never let their age hold them back. Guided tours and luxury resorts make the process a lot easier, and family members can inquire beforehand for their senior loved ones whether the destination will have access to the medication and other facilities they may need. Traveling or practicing one’s calling in life also creates purpose like nothing else and can ward off mental disorders or melancholy.
Seniors can practice slow living, which consists of being mindful of their eating and other daily tasks and reducing stress in day-to-day life. It also includes spending quality time with your own thoughts, working through your emotions in healthy ways such as journaling, and caring less about what other people think.
For seniors that have recently retired from high-stress jobs and careers, slow living might just be what the doctor ordered and what they’ve been looking for their whole life. Senior individuals thrive when their knowledge, experience, and wisdom can be shared with others (making YouTube videos or contributing to a blog is a great example) and when they are shown the respect they deserve. Loved ones should create opportunities and help seniors pursue their interests so that they age happier, healthier, and more fulfilled.