“My elderly parent is never happy.” Unfortunately, this is an experience for many caregivers since older adults are more likely to experience depression and social isolation. If you feel your loved one is experiencing depression, be sure to speak with a psychologist or therapist for extra help. However, there are a few things you can do to help support your loved one and turn that frown upside down. In this post, we will review what makes happy elderly people tick.
What Makes The Elderly Happy?
Happy elderly people can keep themselves in this state by performing certain activities. Below, you will find a few keys to senior happiness.
Stay connected with others: As children move away and spouses and friends pass on, seniors are more likely to feel isolated. Spending time with loved ones, whether it’s through drinking coffee or taking a trip can increase their mood and make them feel connected.
Practice gratitude exercises: “Thinking happy thoughts” for seniors is much easier said than done but older adults should always take time out of their day to think about the things that make them grateful. Surrounding themselves with people who lift their mood and having a happy home environment makes this much simpler.
Keep the brain exercised: Small actions are vital for promoting brain function, giving a sense of purpose, and keeping depression in check. Crossword puzzles, word searches, and Sudoku are fun ways to keep a brain active if physical activity is a barrier. However, if a senior is mobile, activities like volunteering will promote social interaction and stimulate the mind.
Eat healthy: Eating food rich in vitamin B, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc while avoiding starchy carbs will greatly improve one’s mood. Furthemore, alcohol and cigarette use can also contribute to lower moods and should be restricted when possible.
Exercising: One may think a decline in mobility may prevent seniors from keeping fit but that is far from the case. Activities such as chair yoga or water aerobics will greatly increase mood while enhancing physical strength. Even taking a daily walk will work wonders for mental health.
Now that we know a little more about what makes happy seniors tick, let’s discuss how to make elderly people happy.
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How Can We Make Seniors Happy?
Seniors can help themselves become happy but sometimes they need a little extra help from loved ones. Here are some ways you can help make a senior smile.
Show gratitude for them: Go through old photo albums alongside your aging loved one and reminisce about memories you appreciate. Even if they repeat the same story one thousand times, show that you care by listening.
Learn from them: Your loved one has a wealth of lived experience. Learning lessons from them will give you some much-needed wisdom plus it will make them feel valued and needed.
Spend quality time with them: Playing games with them, listening to music with them, and just giving them big hugs will greatly elevate their mood.
Encourage them to join a support group: Of course, spending time with a loved one will improve a senior’s mood but sometimes, they will need people with a more specific experience for emotional support. Group therapy or support groups focusing on veterans, grief, or drug and alcohol addiction can give them outside help while also keeping them socially engaged.
Let them be independent: Seniors may feel helpless when they’re constantly receiving help from others. Try to let them come to you whenever they need assistance and allow them to feel a sense of self-reliance when possible.