How to Improve Quality of Life for Seniors
There are many ways to improve quality of life. Learn some positive changes that are easy to make, to preserve your mental, physical, and emotional health.
Think of all the people you know who are in their late 70s, 80s, 90s, or maybe even approaching the 100-year milestone! In the last century, U.S. life expectancy has increased by nearly 30 years and is projected to continue increasing. That’s an incredible statistic, as it speaks to the revolutionary advances in medical breakthroughs, healthcare, workplace conditions, and our collectively increased awareness of how to take care of ourselves.
If you leave the workforce at a relatively young age, i.e., your 60s, there’s a good chance your retirement will last nearly as long as the time you spend employed. That’s the story the numbers tell us, but that’s all about quantity, and today we’re going to talk about quality of life.
Many of the physical, mental and emotional problems associated with aging will increase if one’s quality of life decreases. However, there are many ways to improve quality of life, from recognizing negative impacts to making positive changes to preserve your mental, physical, and emotional health.
The question is: how can we improve quality of life for Seniors? Let’s take a look at a number of steps one can take to ensure a higher quality of life that’s sustainable.
Steps to Improve Quality of Life for Seniors
There’s not just one simple step to improving your quality of life, and you might not be able to do everything identified below. As always, it’s a great idea to talk to your primary care physician or homecare professional about ways to improve your quality of life that are unique to you. It may also be very beneficial to talk to family members and friends, especially those who are similar in age or experience.
Here are a number of steps you can take to better the quality of life in your later years:
Live with Purpose – Everyday
It’s been said that the toughest day after retirement is the first day when you wake up and you don’t have to go to work. Now what? Most jobs give us a sense of purpose, but just because you’re not working doesn’t mean you don’t live a meaningful life. After all, you have the benefit of life experience, and you can impart your knowledge, creativity, and worldview onto others. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’ve somehow lost value as a human being simply because you’re not punching a clock. Wake up every morning with a sense of purpose and a plan for spending your day, even if that plan includes downtime and well-deserved relaxation.
Acknowledge Depression, Anxiety, and the Importance of Your Mental Health
Seniors are particularly susceptible to depression, due to various factors including health problems, no longer having a child-caring role, lack of mobility, and/or feelings of isolation. It’s important to be aware of these warning signs, which can be symptoms of depression or anxiety:
- Persistent feelings of overall sadness.
- Loss of sleep.
- Lack of interest in hobbies, watching movies, reading, etc.
- Nagging aches and pains without a root physical cause.
If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms, please talk to your doctor.
Prioritize Social Interaction and Connections
Regardless of age, we all benefit from social interaction. But for seniors, particularly those who live alone, it’s especially important. Stay connected to friends and former co-workers, say “yes” to invitations to see family, use social media tools to keep in touch with former classmates and colleagues, and encourage visitors to come and see you. With technology advancing, seniors can also explore digital care companion options.
If you’re a resident in a senior living community, being an active participant in group activities is one of the best ways to make connections. Even if an activity or event is new and unfamiliar, give it a try. You will be surprised at the fun you can have!
Exercise Regularly and Spend Time Outdoors
There are more ways than ever for seniors to partake in safe, fun, productive and interesting physical activities, from walking to chair yoga and water aerobics.
Simply getting out of the house and spending time outdoors is always good for the mind and body. Whether you’re reading on a porch or balcony, doing a little light gardening, or just enjoying the warm sun or a cool breeze, it’s a great idea to get out of the house as much as possible, as exercise has a profound impact on daily life.
You can learn more about this impact in several of our other articles, such as:
- “Benefits of Outdoor Activities for the Elderly”
- “How Exercise Impacts Sleep for Seniors”
- “Exercise for Arthritis”
Exercise the Mind as Well
Playing games such as Sudoku, Wordle, Crossword Puzzles, jigsaw puzzles and trivia keeps the mind active. If you’re a computer person, there are also endless opportunities to play interactive games.
Seniors, especially those with cognitive challenges, will benefit from “brain games.” Find out more in our resource “Best Memory Games for Seniors.”
Invest in Your Hobbies
There’s no such thing as a “mindless hobby.” Anything that keeps your interest is good for you. This can include:
- Keeping up with your favorite TV series.
- Watching new (and classic) movies.
- Reading and listening to books on tapes.
- Listening to your favorite music.
- Organizing family photo albums.
Using Daily Tasks as a Tool for Growth
Whether it's expanding upon existing relationships or making new strides to reach out to a friend or family member, daily needs are often the key to better connections.
Offer to babysit a grandchild, volunteer at the local library, take care of someone’s pet for a few hours, help someone with shopping, etc. Even the simple act of accompanying a friend on an errand or to an appointment can be helpful. Assisting others with daily tasks is an exceptional way to improve quality of life.
Find a Senior Living Community Near You
Many of the steps and activities described above are key components of life in Independent Living and Assisted Living Communities. Some are even reminiscent of what can be offered in more specialized care settings like Memory Care. Referah Family Connection Agents can assist you or your loved one with finding the right type of care or a freeing living opportunity to get the most out of life. Talk with us today about your goals and desires and find a senior living option that has everything you need to live life to the fullest!