A wise friend, tired of me sitting on the sidelines of life, said that there’s more to life than breathing.
That shook me to the core.
No one needs to be sold on how living better gives us more energy, helps us endure stress, whets our appetites and stuffs it, and keep our brains well oiled.
What are some ways we can think of to improve the lives of seniors? Here are some ways to help them indulge their wishes for many years to come.
1. The Life-saving Power Of Technology
Whether you think technology is the devil or not, the fact is that tech helps seniors — especially these days, when we live in the most technologically advanced age of all time.
Take, for instance, heart monitors, alert systems, and intercoms. Heck, phones are tech, too! Every one of those tools has played their crucial role in saving another human from a tragic accident.
How else are you supposed to keep in touch with your loved ones when they’re halfway across the world, probably in a country you don’t feel like paying long-distance phone fees for? Skype, the popular web-chatting program, connects people all over the world, every day. This gives a wonderful sense of freedom and connection.
2. Ask For Help
Turning 60 isn’t the cutoff date for vitality; nobody automatically becomes delicate and fragile the moment they enter seniority — which is why a lot of people don’t ask seniors for their help.
A well-oiled brain prevents nasty diseases that slowly degrade it. That’s what having a good quality of life is all about: keeping yourself alive to actually enjoy living.
Let’s be real here, we like being needed. It’s an ego-booster, really. Could it have something to do with the worries of being picked last on sports teams?
Everybody, whether we’re 10 or 90, hates to feel like a burden — like our existence holds someone back. So, ask your beloved elder if they could help you with things like sorting the mail, keeping up with what’s going on in the news, preparing dinner, folding laundry, or even shopping — if they’re willing and able! Who doesn’t like feeling needed?
3. Spend Time With Each Other
Everyone, not just an elder, needs to stay connected with people, even if just for a social visit or an hour luncheon. Time together is well spent, because really, all we have in the end is each other.
Before my mother passed, her 80-plus-year-old mom would come over each morning to watch morning talk shows over coffee. Every day. That time together is invaluable.
4. Prevent (Or Treat) Depression
It’s a sad fact that many seniors over 65 have a risk for building depression or other psychological disorders. Encourage elders in your life to see a psychologist, therapist, or even to have a mental check-up.
5. Create Small Goals
Whether we like it or not, it’s ingrained in our DNA to “do something.” When we’re young, we make mountains of goals like dominating the world, becoming incredibly rich, or having 3% body fat. In fact, some people say we make too many goals to finish them all!
That’s why seniors need small daily goals. However, “small” does not mean minuscule or unimportant. A goal as small as finishing a few cups of healthy juice could make a big difference over time. Encourage small goals like doing light exercise for an hour or starting and finishing a craft project.
Conquering goals makes everyone feel on top of the world, regardless of age!
6. Encourage Them To “Internet”
Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram may be the Millenials’ realm, but there’s certainly room for everybody. Yes — that means people over 50.
They say we age like fine wine. What better way to show seniors’ “flavor” than by encouraging them to show the “unfermented” youngins a thing or two about life? (Was that metaphor getting out of hand?)
In fact, some senior centers have computer classes! Back in the day, it was all about “how to turn it on.” Nowadays, it’s much more advanced. Google it for yourself.
7. Stay Mentally Fit
Sadly, many older folks lose their minds to dementia and alzheimers. Those are extremes, yeah, but cognitive impairment is still a big issue.
One way to combat this, while improving the life of loved ones, is by asking for their wisdom — their gold nuggets of knowledge.
I mean, heck, a lot of seniors lived through the Great Depression and Dust Bowl! You don’t go through those tragedies without learning a lot about life and what it takes to survive.
In this day and age, where it seems like everyone struggles just to live, ask for the advice of someone who has lived in much worse conditions than many of us do today.
Featured photo credit: Ken Wu via unsplash.com