As our dear ones age, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain their overall health and happiness. They often require specialized care that may not be available at home. So, for many seniors, nursing homes become necessary as they provide a safe, comfortable environment where they can receive around-the-clock care and attention.
However, transitioning to nursing home living can be difficult and sometimes stressful. Many seniors may feel isolated, bored, and unhappy, negatively affecting their physical and mental health.
According to National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), 22% of senior adults live in nursing homes. With this large number, it is crucial to ensure that nursing home seniors receive the appropriate attention and care to preserve their well-being and happiness.
Here are some ways seniors in nursing homes can lead fulfilling and healthy lives:
1. Maintain Health Care
Seniors in nursing homes require consistent medical attention to manage their pre-existing health conditions. As per National Institute on Aging (NIA), 85% of senior adults have one chronic disease at least, and 60% have two or more, highlighting the need for proper medical care to maintain their quality of life.
Many nursing homes have healthcare facilities within their premises to cater to the medical needs of their residents. However, ensuring the quality of care provided to seniors is essential since they are more vulnerable to abuse and neglect, including medical negligence. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) states that nearly 1 in 10 Americans aged 60 or above have experienced some form of elder abuse.
If you encounter a situation where your loved one is neglected or mistreatment in any way at a nursing home, acquiring the services of a nursing home abuse lawyer who specializes in elder law is crucial. They can help you investigate the matter and hold the responsible parties accountable.
2. Relax and Reduce Stress Levels
As we age, various life changes, such as retirement, declining health, and losing loved ones, can increase stress levels. However, too much stress can negatively affect seniors’ physical and mental health. Old-age adults should adopt practices that can help minimize stress levels. Maintaining good health and remaining happy while living in nursing homes is important.
They can opt for various stress management techniques, including meditation, yoga, tai chi, deep breathing exercises, and aromatherapy. These activities help seniors maintain their heart rate, cortisol, and blood pressure. Moreover, stress management techniques can improve sleep quality and boost the immune system.
3. Move Around
Physical activity promotes and sustains good health and overall well-being as we age. Appropriate physical activities can help senior adults stay mobile, prevent or manage chronic ailments, and improve their mental health while living in a nursing home. Light weightlifting, walking, swimming, and yoga are a few examples that offer several health benefits, including improved balance and reduced risk of falls.
However, before starting any exercise regimen, old-age adults should consult their healthcare provider to ensure it is appropriate for their mobility and health. Starting with low-impact activities and gradually increasing intensity is also essential.
4. Pursue Hobbies
As we age, sustaining a sense of direction and contentment is crucial, which can be accomplished by pursuing hobbies or activities that interest us.
Nursing homes offer residents opportunities to explore new hobbies and interests, such as music, crafting, or writing groups, which promote socialization and community building. In addition, hobbies can strengthen connections with family and friends outside the nursing home by creating a shared bond.
5. Maintain a Healthy Diet
The nutritional needs of individuals change as they age, and it is important to fulfill these requirements to ensure adequate nutrient intake. A well-balanced diet containing freshly produced fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources, wholesome grains, and low-fat dairy products are recommended.
Since nursing homes provide meals, residents should communicate their dietary restrictions or preferences to staff. Moreover, senior adults must avoid excessive salt, unhealthy fats, and added sugar, potentially increasing the likelihood of diseases like HBP, heart disease, and diabetes.
By maintaining a healthy diet, seniors can experience improved mood, energy levels, sleep quality, and better recovery from illnesses or injuries, leading to a better life in a nursing home.
6. Get Enough Rest
Ensuring adequate rest is important for seniors’ well-being and happiness in nursing homes. Insufficient sleep can cause health problems, including elevated stress and concentration difficulties. Establishing a regular sleep schedule is crucial to maintain proper rest, including avoiding caffeine and alcohol before going to bed. Additionally, taking short breaks throughout the day can help sustain energy levels. It may include short naps, meditation, or reading.
Prioritizing rest can help prevent burnout, boost physical and mental well-being, and improve the quality of life for seniors living in nursing homes.
7. Work Your Mind and Stay Mentally Stimulated
As we age, engaging our minds to maintain cognitive abilities is crucial. Mental stimulation can help slow the natural decline of brain function and lower the risk of cognitive diseases such as dementia. Reading, playing cards or board games, and solving puzzles like crosswords or word games can keep your mind active. Learning new skills or hobbies can also be mentally stimulating.
Group activities and games offer mental stimulation and socialization in a nursing home. For instance, group trivia or bingo games can be enjoyable and mentally challenging.
8. Practice Good Hygiene
Maintaining good hygiene is vital for older adults, especially those in nursing homes. Practicing good hygiene helps to stay healthy, reduce the risk of falling ill frequently, and promote overall well-being. Washing hands thoroughly and regularly can reduce the spread of harmful germs and infections, especially in a communal environment.
Good oral hygiene is equally critical; seniors should brush and floss regularly, along with frequent dental checkups. Neglecting oral hygiene can lead to numerous health problems, such as gum disease, tooth decay, and even heart disease.
Additionally, old age people should keep their living spaces clean by asking the staff to disinfect frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, and faucets to prevent the spread of germs and infections.
Maintaining a healthy and happy lifestyle in nursing homes is essential for seniors to enjoy their golden years. Taking care of one’s physical and mental health by practicing a healthy lifestyle can significantly contribute to staying active, maintaining independence, and living a fulfilling life in a nursing home.
Senior adults need to remember that they still have control over their lives, and with a positive attitude, they can make the most of their time in a care facility.