The average life expectancy in the US has increased by over 30 years since 2000. Surely this is a great statistic. However, a long life may not necessarily imply a good life. Many adults have grown old and found themselves lacking a sense of purpose. They grow jaded, dissatisfied, and disconnected. They become more vulnerable to mental and physical ailments, like heart attacks and cognitive impairments. It is a negative spiral that could swirl out of control. How can we go about improving the quality of life of our loved ones?
Forge a New Sense of Purpose
Studies have shown that a deteriorating sense of purpose is associated with poor health outcomes. The same applies to older adults, who have most likely retired or are taking a part-time job. They no longer have the vitality and stamina they had when they were young and are often dismissed by others. Help your loved ones overcome this attitude. Older folks have experience, knowledge, and wisdom under their belts, and they can still find a new purpose to work towards.
Put Purpose into Daily Routines
On a more practical side, ask your loved one to help out in the household. It could be looking after a grandchild, a pet, tending a garden, or even cooking a meal. These are small ways to make your loved one feel like he or she matters again. You could also encourage your loved one to try new hobbies. Write a book! That may be something worth striving towards.
Encourage New Connections
Studies have shown that 1 in 3 US adults older than 45 has reported feeling lonely. Loneliness is a major cause of depression and other illnesses. You should encourage your loved one to spend time with the family, and even get him or her to engage with the community. Make new friends and acquaintances! There are social groups for the elderly out there, and safe ways to meet, even in this pandemic period.
Stay in Motion
Whether in the physical or mental sense, it is important for your loved one to keep being stimulated by his or her surroundings. Something as simple as playing chess, doing crossword puzzles, or simple stretching exercises can enhance feelings of independence and sharpness of mind, which reduces the risk of degenerative diseases and improves one’s mood.
Make it a point to go for regular health checkups. If you notice symptoms of a minor disease or signs of depression, be sure to have that checked out. Dealing with a medical issue early on can save your loved one’s life, as well as your wallet. This would also make your loved one’s life smoother and more worth living.