After all the holiday visiting subsides, the gifts are unwrapped and put away, and the New Year has been rung in, for many older adults, the return to everyday life can bring with it feelings of isolation, depression or sadness in seniors. However, there are some simple steps we can take to help senior loved ones experience renewed joy. Try these tips from the Sun City home health care team at Nightingale Homecare:
- Maintain connections. Feelings of loneliness and isolation can settle in when family members, who may have spent additional time with a senior over the holidays, fade away into their own busy lives once again. Help your senior loved one stay connected when frequent in-person visits aren’t possible. Teach the senior to use social-enhancing technology such as Skype and emailing, or assist with writing letters and cards. Joining in on activities, classes and groups or volunteering within the community is also a great way to form new friendships and stay active and engaged. Check out the local community college, senior center, fitness center, place of worship, or a charitable organization as a good starting point.
- Watch the diet. Holiday eating can have an unhealthy impact on all of us! Resolving to implement a healthier pattern of eating at the onset of the New Year will help seniors not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. Certain foods have been shown to enhance mood, such as those containing vitamin B and zinc (such as bananas) and the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are great examples. It’s also a good idea for seniors to take the opportunity to kick bad habits such as smoking cigarettes or abusing alcohol, which can also affect our mood.
- Get moving. Physical health has been linked to mental health, and for seniors who are less able to stay active due to chronic illness, frailty, or struggles with mobility, it can be challenging to stay physically fit. There are, however, a variety of solutions, from chair exercises to water aerobics to even just a simple, slow-paced walk outdoors. Check with the senior’s doctor for an appropriate exercise regimen to help strengthen the heart and muscles, and the older adult will reap the added benefit of an emotional boost as well.
Nightingale Homecare’s Arizona home health care professionals are also on hand to enhance quality of life and overall wellbeing for seniors. We can provide friendly companionship to brighten each day, transportation to activities and exercise programs, healthy meal preparation, and a full range of skilled nursing care services to ensure older adults are living life to the fullest!