Keeping elderly relatives
active at home
We’re spending more time than ever before in our homes, so it’s important to keep busy and stay active to promote both a healthy mind and body. Elderly people are often more at risk of boredom through isolation, which can have a seriously negative impact on their quality of life:
· They can develop feelings of worthlessness
· Harbour depression and feelings that life is no longer worth living
· Become restless and unsettled
· Begin to feel unloved or neglected
These issues can be difficult to tackle when they appear so it’s best to adopt preventative measures early on.
So how can we ensure that our elderly relatives stay busy?
At Country Cousins, we’ve put together a guide to help you ensure that boredom never becomes an issue, showing you how to remain busy at home.
Learn something new
Developing new skills and hobbies is not only a great way to keep yourself busy, it also ensures your brain stays active. Learning a new skill at any age helps to promote neural cell growth, improve concentration and increase overall brain function.
According to a recent study by the University of California , learning a new skill can make a human brain appear up to 30 years younger in just six weeks. This can be anything from learning how to use a new form of technology to something more traditional like knitting or sewing. Dr Wu, who led the study published in The Journals of Gerontology stated:
“The take-home message is that older adults can learn multiple new skills at the same time and doing so may improve their cognitive functioning.
The studies provide evidence that intense learning experiences akin to those faced by younger populations are possible in older populations and may facilitate gains in cognitive abilities.”
This shows that challenging ourselves to take up new things can significantly improve our cognitive function.
So why not start that project you’ve been putting off for years?
Complete a Puzzle
Puzzles, from traditional jigsaws to crosswords and word searches, are a great way to prevent boredom. They’re similar to learning a new skill in that they test your cognitive abilities and put your mind to work as you try and work out the answer or solution.
With a jigsaw puzzle, you’re able to track your own progress and get a real sense of achievement upon completion. Whether you’re interested in a lovely jungle scene or a train track winding through the English countryside, there are all sort of styles of jigsaws for you to complete.
Solving puzzles also helps to reinforce existing connections between our brain cells which in turn improves mental speed and thought processes. Jigsaw puzzles, in particular, are renowned for their short-term memory benefits. Short-term memory helps us remember shapes and colours and visualise the bigger picture to figure out which pieces will fit together.
If you can’t get to the shops to buy a Sudoku book or a good puzzle, don’t worry. Many puzzles and games can now be completed online using a computer, tablet or smartphone with numerous brain training games available. Some are free, however, some games and apps might need to be purchased.
The summer months have arrived so why not head out into your garden and make the most of the nice weather. There are lots of things you can do in your garden to make it look stunning. Whether it be planting some flowers or even creating your own little vegetable patch. There’s a great guide that looks at all of the different gardening tips and advice that you might need.
If you don’t have access to a garden, then you can always try planting something in a pot to add to your windowsill as home decoration. Having greenery around the home can often make you feel more relaxed and brighten up your home. Some plants also have a positive impact on our physical health as well as they oxygenate the air around them, head to Country Living to find a list of their top 10 air purifying plants.
You can make the most of the space in your home and give your heart a little bit of healthy exercise. The best bit is that you’re never too old to start exercising and you might be surprised to learn just how many exercises can be done from the comfort of your own chair.
If you are able to, getting out for a walk is a great way of keeping active and getting some fresh air. One of the worst things you can do is stay stuck in your home, so get out and about if you can.
Not only is there a wealth of evidence out there demonstrating that people over the age of 65 who are active have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression and dementia. More recent evidence also suggests that regular exercise can reduce the risk of falling in older adults as well. For more helpful tips and information on the benefits of exercise in older age, head to the NHS website.
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