6 Actionable Ways Seniors Can Boost Happiness and Wellness
Good senior home health care goes beyond helping people age safely. It should also include prioritizing and working on seniors’ happiness and wellness too. In honor of International Happiness Day, here are 6 ways seniors can boost their happiness and wellness on their own, or with a caregiver.
Prioritize physical fitness
Starting or sustaining a regular exercise routine can be challenging for people of all ages and as you get older, it doesn’t get any easier. But the most important thing you can do is to get started. Whether that means a short walk around the block, aqua aerobics at the rec center, or mild stretching before bedtime—finding ways to increase your heart rate and improve muscle tone will inevitably increase your health and happiness.
After a few weeks of adding physical activity to your schedule, check in with yourself. Are you feeling stronger or more energized than before? Are you feeling calmer? Focusing on the positive benefits of exercise will give you the motivation you need to keep it up.
Have a laugh
It feels good to laugh, doesn’t it? That’s because when you laugh, your brain triggers the sweet release of dopamine, endorphins and serotonin; those feel-good chemicals that override the flow of cortisol, and send a signal to your body that you’re happy.
Laughter has been proven to increase the wellbeing of seniors in many ways. A hearty chuckle can reduce stress by decreasing your heart rate and lowering your blood pressure, encourage circulation by causing your muscles to relax, and temporarily relieve the physical symptoms of pain. Studies show that laughter may even help you live longer—especially if you’re a woman.
Whether you laugh at a joke from a television show, come across a funny cartoon, or hear a side-splitting story from your home care companion—write it down. Keeping a journal and jotting down what tickles your funny bone can reveal go-to humour strategies you can use on days when you’re feeling less than cheerful.
Stay connected with loved ones
As we get older, our pool of social connections gets smaller. This is a natural part of aging and something that most people will face in their lifetimes. But having a smaller social circle can also lead to isolation, especially for seniors. Researchers from University of California San Francisco (USCF) found that seniors who feel lonely have a 59% higher risk of physical and mental health decline, and a 45% greater risk of death.
That’s why it’s really important to nurture the friendships and social bonds you do have. This will look different for everyone, but here are a few suggestions:
- Connect with family without leaving your home:
From a simple phone call to a full family Zoom hang out, there’s no shortage of communication options to help you connect with your loved ones. Need support overcoming technical barriers? Organizations like AARP provide information and resources to help older adults get comfortable using new technology.
- Arrange a home care companion:
For those living in isolation, companionship care can be a practical, rewarding solution to social isolation. At Nurse Next Door, you’re matched with a senior companion based on compatibility and mutual interests to ensure richer conversations and a stronger social connection.
- Practice gratitude
“If you don’t know the language of gratitude, you’ll never be on speaking terms with happiness.”
Dr. Sanjiv Chopra, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School often thinks about this anonymous quote. He believes that gratitude is scientifically linked to happiness and can help seniors strengthen their relationships and cope with stressful circumstances. This is backed up by the Mayo Clinic, which maintains that regularly practicing gratitude through meditation can help you manage stress, increase self-awareness, and reduce negative emotions.
Gratitude is a habit that can be built up slowly. It can be as simple as telling yourself “I’m grateful” once a day or thinking of someone or something you’re grateful for each morning when you wake up. Try it at home by taking a few moments throughout your day to close your eyes, breathe deeply, and focus your mind on positive thoughts.
Discover a new hobby
People are happier when they’re learning new things and making progress toward their goals. By focusing on hobbies and activities that bring a sense of achievement, seniors can boost their everyday happiness and wellness.
But before choosing your new hobby, ask yourself one important question: how do you want to spend your day? Getting to the root of why you’re looking to improve life with a hobby will make sure you choose the right activity for your lifestyle and goals.
- Would you like to get outside more?
Then you might enjoy gardening, birdwatching, or nature photography. Getting outside for as little as 2 hours a week has been proven to lower seniors’ blood pressure, reduce stress hormones, and improve overall mood.
- Maybe you’re trying to calm your nerves.
Hobbies like knitting, gentle yoga, or even cooking can be relaxing and rejuvenating forms of senior care. The best part about these hobbies? You can make them as easy or as difficult as you like.
- Are you looking to gain more confidence?
Joining clubs like writer’s groups or book clubs can help you practice speaking and articulating your thoughts in a comfortable setting. Acting classes can bring out your inner movie star while helping you make friends who share your interests.
Once you’ve chosen your hobby, you’ll need resources. From learning a new instrument to baking a showstopping meringue cake, look no further than Youtube. This DIY-friendly platform gives access to tutorials, guides, and advice for projects large and small. And don’t forget your local library, where you’ll find books on every hobby imaginable, plus the added benefit of a friendly librarian to assist.
Use your support system
For many seniors, articulating wants and needs is difficult. Maybe you don’t want to be a burden, maybe you’re afraid you’ve left it too long between doctor’s appointments, or feel embarrassed that you can no longer complete tasks you were able to do before. Whatever the reason, your health is one the biggest contributing factors to your overall happiness and wellness and staying on top of it is vital.
If the thought of the administrative hurdles of healthcare fills you with anxiety, don’t be afraid to reach out to the people closest to you. Start with family, friends, or neighbours in your community. You’d be surprised at how willing people can be to lend their support.
If you’d prefer to rely on a more reliable service, a friendly and attentive caregiver could be just what you need. From light housekeeping and administrative work to transportation arrangement and home nursing care, senior care services like Nurse Next Door empower elders to live life to its fullest. A surefire recipe for heath and wellness.
Nurse Next Door’s approach helps seniors boost happiness and wellness. Learn more about our senior home care services here.
To learn more, give our Care Team a call today toll-free at 1-877-588-8609!