Mental health is one of the most important parts of senior care, even if it is one of the most often overlooked parts. When someone is happier, research indicates that they are more likely to feel better, too. For those individuals that are experiencing a decline in physical health or declining physical ability, emotional difficulty or even cognitive decline can be very common. Anecdotal evidence has provided a number of ways that these issues can be relieved, and science is starting to show that many of these ideas are very effective.
One area that has proven to be successful with promoting mental health was actually originally designed to promote heart health. These simple steps were originally supposed to help people have healthy hearts over the course of their lifetime. Today, researchers are finding that these same steps actually promote mental health, as well. They can be beneficial to both young children and the elderly, making them far more universal than some of the methods that have been used in the past to help senior citizens get a step ahead when it comes to their mental health.
These seven steps include:
- Managing blood pressure
- Controlling cholesterol levels
- Keeping blood sugar at a healthy level
- Getting adequate physical exercise
- Eating healthily
- Losing excess weight, if needed
- Quitting smoking, if already a smoker
Known as “Life’s Simple 7,” these rules were originally set forth by the American Heart Association. Today, we know that they can help lower an individual’s chances of Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive impairments. Separate studies have confirmed that those who eat well and are physically healthy also tend to be happier.
One of our goals, and probably one of your goals, is to help our elderly loved ones to have a peaceful, caring, and loving experience when they receive senior care, whether it be in-home care, assisted living, a stay in a nursing home, or something else. Senior citizens deserve high quality care, and the best care often involves no care at all because preventative measures, such as those discussed above, have been put in place for extended periods of time. By helping our loved ones to be healthier in mind and body, we can do a lot for them when it comes to their quality of life. In-home care exists to help people live better lives, but this certainly isn’t the only way to achieve that goal. Sometimes the best type of senior care is something that is done long before senior care is ever needed because it ensures that there is less likelihood that care will be needed.
We can’t go back in time and change anything. That goes for unhealthy choices that our elderly loved ones have made. However, we can help our loved ones, and ourselves, to make healthier choices now. Big changes won’t occur overnight, but even small changes today can have a positive impact. If you have a loved one that might need or is currently receiving senior care, helping them to make healthy choices today will not only benefit them physically, but emotionally and cognitively, too.