According to the CDC, one in five seniors is dealing with a mental health issue of some sort. Baby Boomers, now entering their retirement years, list mental decline as a significant source of concern as they age.
However, studies indicate that there are ways to bolster brain power in seniors and help stave off mental decline in the process. This means that seniors do not necessarily have to experience major mental decline as they age. Lifestyle factors can greatly reduce the rate or incidence of mental decline.
If your loved one is worried about declining mental health, home health care can do much to help create an environment in which your senior can flourish both mentally and physically. Consider these ways home health care can bolster mental health in seniors:
1) Home care workers can provide nutritious meals.
A Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide on brain health notes that there is a strong link between proper nutrition and brain health. According to the report, seniors who watch their calories, reduce their consumption of saturated fats, and eat diets rich in folic acid, B6, and B12 are at a decreased risk of dementia than their counterparts with poor nutritional habits.
Home care workers can prepare nutritious meals and ensure that those meals are being eaten by sitting with their client through the meal period or even sharing a meal. An additional benefit to this is that seniors are more likely to eat well when they can share mealtime with another person.
2) Home care workers can read with or to their clients.
Reading or listening intently to another person as he or she reads provides mental stimulation and exercises the brain. As a form of learning therapy, reading has significant benefits for seniors.
Home care workers can schedule time for reading to seniors or listening to seniors as they read, thus encouraging a healthy reading habit and providing some much needed social interaction as well.
3) Home care workers can help encourage seniors to be physically active.
There is a vast body of research that links physical activity with mental acuity. The CDC lists improved mental health as a direct benefit of physical exercise.
A home care worker can help your senior to stay or become more physically active. By providing support for your senior as he or she takes a short walk around the block or even just around the house, a home care worker can get your loved one up and about, stimulating physical and mental health in the process.
4) Home care workers can encourage game play for seniors.
Games can do much to provide stimulation for seniors. Activities such as card playing, puzzles, chess, checkers, and board games may help seniors to stay mentally alert and active for longer.
Home care workers spend time with seniors, encouraging game playing and providing enjoyable social interaction. For many seniors, time spent in this way is a highlight of their days because game playing not only provides mental stimulation, but also helps seniors to focus on something positive and enjoyable.
By providing additional methods of mental stimulation for seniors, home care workers can do much to improve the quality of life and the mental disposition and health of your senior. To learn more about how you can take advantage of these home care benefits for your loved one, contact us today.