Routine in everyday life gives us a sense of security. For the elderly, retired, and perhaps on their own, the same old routine can quickly turn into boredom. Fortunately, there are many ways to beat this problem.
Numerous activities, like brain jogging, social visits, mini-jobs, and everyday exercises and training for the body allow older people to break out of any rut. The mental and physical health of seniors can be positively affected, and many of the activities can be done alone as well as together with friends, children, and grandchildren. Get inspired and let your creativity loose!
What Factors Affect the Quality of Life in the Elderly?
How our overall health affects our quality of life depends on the individual. Health-related quality of life has several dimensions, including:
- Avoidance of troublesome physical symptoms.
- The ability to perform the activities of daily living.
- Maintaining close interpersonal relationships with friends and family members.
- Satisfaction with medical and financial aspects of health care.
Most people believe that avoiding or controlling chronic pain is important to maintaining a high quality of life. Other influences are less obviously related to health care, such as the quality of close relationships, cultural influences, religion, spirituality, personal values, and previous health care experiences.
“Studies have shown that seniors with a sense of purpose are less susceptible to cognitive impairment, heart attacks, and strokes, and they are more likely to live longer. Learning new things improves brain health. Physical activity slows and sometimes reverses physical incapacity.” Bethesda Health
What Improves Quality of Life in the Elderly?
Being completely healthy is an aspiration that’s not always achieved – when we are young or in old age. It’s more a question of maintaining a good quality of life and autonomy despite our age, physical, or mental state.
In old age, it’s important to maintain physical and mental functioning. After all, those who are able to cope with everyday life to some extent also have many more opportunities to spend a self-determined old age. Physical functioning is particularly important in this respect. Older people must — in the truest sense of the word — keep moving.
“Older adults with increasing productive engagement in physical activity reported better scores of Mental Component Summary, social and emotional role functioning than those with decreasing productive engagement in physical activity.” National Library of Medicine
Why Are Activities Important for the Elderly?
Most older people are free from work obligations and child-rearing, so their everyday life consists mainly of free time. To prevent boredom from arising, it’s important to make getting up in the morning appealing.
Boredom in old age is often caused by social deprivation, which means that there is little or no social contact. This can lead to severe depression. The technical term for this is “Bore out” (you have probably heard of Burnout, which is the other extreme). This can occur when those affected no longer feel needed and appreciated, or when they are faced with hours of unstimulating activity.
In view of the almost infinite possibilities of leisure activities available to seniors of today, being bored seems almost unthinkable. So how do you best implement leisure activities?
- What would I like to do in my free time?
- What is important to me in life?
- What can be challenging for me?
What are Some Activities that Can Help When Aging?
Time with family and friends: Retirement brings with it the opportunity to devote more in-depth time to families and friends. This leisure activity not only fills the day but also makes people happy.
Exercise for physical fitness: Exercise is so important in old age! It is the only way to maintain or even improve physical abilities. If you want to practice a particular sport on a regular basis, you can join a club. Important is that you keep moving!
Cognitive training for mental fitness: Not only physical fitness but also mental fitness plays a major role in old age. Cognitive skills can already be trained by crossword puzzles, Sudoku, or memory. Brain jogging is as important as physical movement.
Senior clubs and meeting places: These places provide a platform for older people to come together. In addition, such places offer the opportunity to make new social contacts with people of the same age and thus prevent loneliness.
Volunteering: Doing good in your newly won time? Whether as a reading mentor in a children’s facility, a member of the local senior citizens’ advisory board, a loaner nanny, a homework helper, or an employee at the food bank — there is something for everyone.
Travel: Seeing the whole world — is difficult for many people during their working years and the limited vacation days that come with it. You don’t need to travel the world either — perhaps you haven’t yet been to the neighboring state capitol.
Why not ask your doctor about similar activities that encourage positive physical and mental outcomes?
“It’s not enough to just be alive. Feeling satisfied and fulfilled is just as important for overall well-being as getting regular check-ups from the doctor. In fact, having a positive view of life can help seniors have more energy, less stress, better appetite, and prevent cognitive decline.” Daily Caring