At Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of hourly, live-in, and specialized dementia care in Phoenix, we know that despite the common stereotype that happiness decreases with age, seniors are not inherently cranky. In fact, Scientific American reports that aging can actually bring happiness. At the same time, seniors are at a greater risk for developing depression than any other age group due to a combination of loneliness and significant life changes that occur in a short amount of time. You can help your loved one increase happiness right now by encouraging simple activities and lifestyle changes.
1. Encourage Movement
It’s true that exercise increases feel-good endorphins. When done on a regular basis, working out promotes long-term good mood. Don’t let your loved one assume they can’t exercise because of limited mobility—while certain workouts are off-limits, even a small, slow walk around the block can help improve happiness.
2. Get Cleaning
A clean, uncluttered home can make anyone feel better. While some seniors have difficulty with certain tasks, try to involve your loved one as much as possible so he or she feels like they’re making a contribution. For example, participation in cleaning out old, unused clothing can make your loved one feel useful, thereby boosting overall mood.
3. Set a Nap Time
The optimal sleep time for seniors is seven to nine hours per night. However, your loved one might need a bit more shut-eye to improve overall mood and wellbeing. Set a naptime during the afternoon for some extra rejuvenation.
4. Get Crafty
Arts and crafts aren’t just for children. The creativity involved with these activities benefits all ages, especially seniors who might otherwise feel unskilled. Start with small activities that match your loved one’s motor skills. Options might include painting, stenciling, and sewing.
5. Connect with Old Friends
A recent study by the University of California, Berkeley found that an active social life increased happiness in seniors, while also decreasing the risk for dementia. Encourage your loved one to make a phone call, send messages via social media or set a coffee date with an old friend.
6. Encourage Volunteerism
Volunteering makes anyone feel good, but it’s especially important for seniors to provide purpose and community connections. Look for opportunities based on your loved one’s abilities, such as answering phones, helping as a greeter at special events or assisting in a soup kitchen.
If you feel your loved one’s happiness has decreased because he or she needs help around the house, running errands, or assistance during physical activity, now is the time to reach out to Home Care Assistance. We offer both hourly and 24/7 live-in care in Phoenix, and our caregivers can help your loved one maintain a high quality of life. To schedule a free in-home consultation, call (602) 338-1085 to speak with a trusted Care Manager.