Keep them engaged in family life.
Keeping elderly people engaged in the family takes extra effort — especially if they can’t travel anymore — but it’s essential for maintaining those family connections. Make an extra effort to visit elderly loved ones and to include them in family events.
Stay in regular communication.
You should also try to communicate regularly with them outside of in-person visits. Remember that every senior person has a different level of comfort with technology. Some may be perfectly happy to text and video call all day long, while others prefer a traditional phone call or even snail mail.
Encourage social interactions.
Maintaining family connections is essential, but the family can’t fulfill everyone’s social needs. Unfortunately, many elderly people pull away from their friends and peers due to mobility issues, which can exacerbate feelings of loneliness. Encourage your loved one to revive old friends or make new ones through classes at community centers.
Stay physically active.
Staying physically active as you age significantly contributes to good health and will enhance elderly people’s lives. Even if your loved one has never been particularly active before, it’s never too late to get started. Going for daily walks is a great starting point.
Keep mentally engaged as well.
Your body isn’t the only thing that needs a good workout — your mind does. Encourage your elderly loved one to do activities that will exercise their brain, whether that’s putting together a jigsaw puzzle, filling out a crossword or Sudoku puzzle, reading a nonfiction book, or learning a new skill. There are many different ways to exercise your brain, so encourage them to keep experimenting until they find some activities that are fun and engaging, which will motivate them to make it a regular part of their routine.
Find purpose in retirement.
While some people look forward to the end of their full-time working life, others get a lot of fulfillment in their jobs and struggle with retirement instead. If you miss your old job, then consider working part-time for another employer or starting your own small business from home.
Keep an eye on their mental health.
Physical health in older age gets a lot of attention, but many people neglect the importance of seniors’ mental health. Older people are vulnerable to depression, anxiety, isolation, loneliness, and other mental health issues. Watch your loved one for signs of mental health decline. Some lifestyle changes on this list, such as exercising, will contribute to positive mental health and enhance their lives.
Ready their home for aging in place.
Most homes are not designed with elderly people in mind, and they need some modifications to make them comfortable and safe for aging in place. Potential modifications include installing a stairlift, putting up grab bars in the bathroom, and putting up motion-sensitive night lights.
Make daily tasks easier.
Is your elderly loved one struggling to dress or cook for themselves? If so, they might not need help with these tasks but need items designed for older people with arthritis and other mobility issues. For example, buttons and other closures can be hard for older people to work by themselves. Switching them to men’s elastic waist pants or adaptive clothing for women means that they can keep dressing even if “regular” clothes are no longer a possibility.
Pursue new hobbies.
Now that you’re no longer working full-time, you have the chance to pick up a new hobby you’ve always wanted to try or to devote more time to an old hobby you always had to leave on the back burner while you were working. See if any of the shops or organizations in your area offer classes for seniors in the hobbies that you are interested in.
Spend time outside.
Spending time in nature is good for your mental and physical health, so encourage your loved one to get outside. Getting outside can take many forms, whether gardening in the backyard, picnicking in a local park, or going for a hike on a nearby trail.
Take advantage of community events.
If you worked long hours before you retired, chances are that you didn’t get out in the community as much as you could have. You might be surprised to learn how many events are offered in your local area: think free concerts, farmers’ markets, craft fairs, outdoor movie theaters, and more. Many of these events are free or cheap to attend, which is an excellent option for retirees on a budget.
Get them the best healthcare possible.
Once your elderly loved ones retire, their insurance will probably change, which might necessitate a switch in providers. Even if their insurance doesn’t change right away, it might still make sense to seek out new doctors who specialize in geriatric populations and/or any health conditions your loved one has already been diagnosed with.
Be smart about financial management.
Elderly people are especially vulnerable to scams and financial mismanagement. They may also forget to pay bills if they develop memory care issues. Educate them about how to protect themselves financially and check in regularly to ensure bills are being paid.