From preparing daily meals to lending a hand with transfers from beds to chairs, caregivers often spend a lot of time addressing the immediate physical needs of their senior family members. However, it’s just as important to pay attention to your aging loved one’s emotional wellbeing as you provide care, support, and guidance. Here are five specific reasons emotional wellbeing is so vital for seniors.
1. Overlooking Emotional Wellness Increases Susceptibility to Depression
According to a Canadian Study of Health and Aging (CSHA) report, depression is a significant problem among elderly Canadians, especially if physical limitations are involved. Because of the increased risk of depression associated with aging, being more mindful of emotional wellbeing may offset this risk with steps that could include:
• Planning more social outings
• Addressing signs of depression as soon as they’re noticed
• Providing regular mental stimulation—e.g., playing board/card games, visiting new locations, exploring various craft projects and hobbies
It’s perfectly fine—and even healthy—for older adults to have moments when they’re a bit down emotionally. Make an effort to get your loved one through such moments by actively encouraging him or her to share and express his or her feelings.
Good emotional health can boost quality of life in the golden years. Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust Waterloo home care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life.
2. Emotional Wellbeing Is Linked to Physical Wellbeing
Older adults who aren’t in a healthy state of mind are less likely to be actively involved in efforts to remain physically healthy. But if your loved one is emotionally in a good place, he or she is more likely to care about following a healthy diet, exercising, and focusing on other things that tend to promote good overall health.
3. Good Emotional Health Can Do Wonders for an Aging Brain
Seniors who volunteer have a lower risk of developing dementia, according to results from a University of Calgary study. It’s believed this is the case because volunteering is something that makes older adults feel good about themselves. Similar studies suggest being emotionally optimistic can have equally appealing cognitive benefits.
Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of elder care. You can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
4. Having a Positive Outlook Could Mean a Longer Life
Readers Digest Canada references research suggesting older adults with a positive attitude and outlook may also live longer. In fact, the study referenced in this publication notes individuals evaluated with a positive outlook about aging lived nearly 8 years longer than those with a more pessimistic view on getting older.
5. Emotionally Healthy Seniors Are More Likely to Try New Things
It only stands to reason that seniors may be more agreeable to breaking out of their comfort zone and trying new things if they’re emotionally healthy. Trying new things can be beneficial for seniors since exploring new and different activities can provide added mental and physical stimulation. For instance, you could steer your loved one toward water-based forms of exercise or get him or her to sample healthy, delicious meals he or she has never tried before. It tends to be easier to do things like this when there aren’t emotional barriers in the way.
Maintaining emotional health is just as important for you as it is for your loved one. Family caregivers need to care for their own wellbeing. If you’re caring for an aging loved one and are feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide respite care. Waterloo, ON, families who want to prevent burnout can turn to Home Care Assistance. One of our professional caregivers can assist your loved one at home while you take a nap, go to work, run errands, or go on vacation. To schedule a free consultation with one of our friendly Care Managers, call (519) 954-2111 today.