For some, maintaining proper self-care can be more challenging in the later years because of mobility issues, memory problems, or neglect. However, self-care is crucial to mental and physical health. Failing to maintain health can be especially harmful to older adults, who are more susceptible to preventable health issues. While many older adults have caregivers that look after most of their needs, practising good self-care can help fill in gaps and provide a sense of independence and well-being.

What is self-care?

Self-care is the practice of keeping healthy habits that allow you to maximize your potential health and happiness, which includes everything that helps us stay healthy such as hygiene, exercise, nutrition, and seeking medical care.

Self-care looks different for everyone and changes based on many factors such as age, gender, personal needs, etcetera. These are the best self-care tips for seniors. 

Self-care tips for seniors

Stimulate your mind

Reading has many proven benefits, from stress reduction to improving memory. One study showed that only six minutes of reading per day could decrease stress by up to 68%. 

Reading is a workout for the mind. Aside from reducing stress and improving memory, it can help prevent and slow the cognitive decline commonly associated with ageing. But let’s be honest, most of us don’t read to improve our memory – we do it because it’s fun! Reading can be an enriching experience and, depending on the subject matter, can be highly educational and insightful. 

Reading books is a great way to boost your mental health while having fun for older adults.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness has increased in popularity recently, coinciding with a cultural shift toward prioritizing mental health. Mindfulness is an umbrella term that covers breathing techniques and meditation. 

Experts describe mindfulness as being “present and fully engaged with whatever we’re doing at the moment – free from distraction or judgement, and aware of our thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them.”

Mindfulness practices can be used anywhere, from sitting alone and meditating to simply walking down the street and being mindful. Practicing mindfulness in its simplest form means shifting your mindset to be more objectively observant of your thoughts rather than immediately accepting them. 

These practices pose great health benefits, including stress reduction, memory improvement, emotional control, and increased focus. These benefits could make impactful differences in seniors’ lives. 

Reach out to loved 0nes

One of the biggest problems facing the elderly is isolation. As mentioned in our previous blog

“Older adults are at a greater risk for isolation and loneliness because they are more likely to live alone, experience the loss of family and friends and have health conditions such as hearing loss and chronic illness. Other factors such as lack of mobility and retirement can also lead to decreased social contact.”

Social isolation is proven to harm health and links to higher instances of depression. 

As simple as it sounds, reaching out to loved ones can greatly benefit them, which goes for those with older adults in their lives. Remember to call them!

Get regular exercise

It’s no secret that regular exercise is healthy. Exercise helps prevent disease, boost mental health, improve fitness and, specifically for elderly adults, helps prevent falls and other mobility-related accidents. 

But what exercise should I do? Indeed you wouldn’t have me lifting weights or running on a treadmill!

It’s true. Exercise for older adults looks different than for younger people who may be doing more strenuous workouts. Here are the best activities for the elderly:

  1. Walking is one of the best exercises because it gets people outside and in the fresh air. Walking helps reduce the risk of heart disease, strengthens muscles and bones, helping prevent osteoporosis and arthritis. 
  2. Wall pushups. Standing about three feet from a wall, place both arms on the wall and push back and forth. Adjust the distance from the wall to increase or decrease difficulty.
  3. Seated yoga is a great way to stay limber and stretch your muscles. Consider trying the following moves: Overhead stretch, seated toe touch, and seated heel raise. 

Practice gratitude

Recent research has begun discovering benefits to the very simple practice of gratitude. Similar to mindfulness, this practice involves considering everything you are grateful for. Studies done by Harvard Medical School found that “gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

Many people have begun keeping gratitude journals, which they write daily. Other forms of gratitude involve volunteering and engaging in charitable acts, such as donating to charity. 

Self-care tips for seniors: Final thoughts

Growing old is a beautiful thing. But specific challenges come with ageing that can sometimes be overlooked. Practising self-care can help individuals achieve improved health (both mental and physical), increase happiness levels, and improve the quality of relationships. If you have an older person in your life, consider sharing these tips with them or sending this blog. If you are looking for nursing or long-term care, contact Lynn Valley Care Centre today, and an associate will help get your loved one the care they need.