Seniors living alone often experience depression. For some people it can be a serious condition requiring medical attention. Depression can also be a temporary condition brought on by a specific event. Selling the family home, the loss of a loved one or the daily aches and pains of aging may cause a temporary state of depression. Keeping the mind busy is the best way to prevent it from wandering into depressing thoughts and memories. The following activities help keep the mind active and healthy.
Life is hectic and a simple schedule helps you stay organized. If you live alone, a schedule of daily chores, medications and appointments is important. Create a schedule that you know is possible to achieve, allowing plenty of time for social activities and relaxation.
Activity and Medication Calendars
It’s helpful to have three calendars. The first is for recording medications and the times they are taken. The second calendar is for social activities and appointments. The third calendar is for scheduling daily activities and chores. These include such routine activities as making the bed, doing the dishes, preparing healthy meals, exercise and shopping. It is easy to skip a few chores when you live alone. Just remember, a backlog of chores can be overwhelming and cause discouragement.
Keep track of your medications with a calendar. Itís helpful to set up a weekly pill box if you take several medications. Be sure you know what procedure to follow if you are unable to take a medication at the right time. Read the material that accompanies your prescription and discuss possible side effects with your doctor. Be sure to ask if there are foods that should be avoided while taking a medication. Be sure to discard any expired medications and never stop taking a medication without consulting your doctor.
Keeping the mind active is very important. When the mind drifts it can wander into areas that trigger depressing thoughts. There are a lot of activities that keep the mind active and exercised. Reading a book, balancing a bank statement, writing a letter, playing a game, making a craft and using a computer are good brain exercises. These activities keep the brain busy and healthy.
It isnít necessary for seniors to join activities designed just for seniors. You may enjoy some of those activities but it is best to join activities you really enjoy. If you like photography, join a photography club and have fun with members of all ages. Donít segregate yourself because you are getting older. If you make crafts, you can participate in a craft fair and sell your creations. Use the money to purchase more supplies or to supplement your income. Family activities and gatherings are special. Participate in as many as possible.
Procrastination is dangerous because it is very easy to postpone things to another day. It is among the top ten bad habits. Once a person gets behind in chores or activities, it seems difficult to get back on track. If you start to get behind, donít be too shy to ask a family member or friend to help you.
Adequate sleep is vitally important at every age, and especially for seniors. Be sure to get six to eight hours of sound sleep every night. When you are tired it is easy to drift off into discouraging thoughts. Itís also hard to keep up with your daily routine when you are tired. Sometimes an afternoon nap will renew your energy.
Good nutrition is vitally important to seniors. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables for vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Eat low fat meats and be sure they are thoroughly cooked. Fish is an excellent source of omega-2 fatty acids which promote heart health. It is easy to become anemic if well-balanced meals are not provided. Some medical conditions also contribute to anemia. If you feel weak, experience light-headedness and look a little pale, call your doctor for an appointment.
Hydration is very important. Drink plenty of water. As people get older they donít feel thirsty as often. Coffee is a diuretic and causes fluid loss. Dehydration can happen quickly in seniors and can cause confusion, lethargy decreased urine output and an increased heart rate. Dehydration is a serious condition. There are some foods that help hydrate if you have difficulty drinking a sufficient amount of water. Applesauce, strawberries, watermelon, lettuce, cabbage, carrots, celery and cucumbers all have naturally high water content. Juicy fruits make a good snack and will also contribute to hydration.
Exercise is important at any age, but for seniors it is vitally necessary to prevent loss of mobility. Before undertaking any exercise, check with your doctor to learn what activities are allowed. Walking is low-impact and considered the best for seniors as it improves mobility, lowers blood pressure, builds strength, maintains weight and increases longevity.
Following these suggestions will help keep the body and mind healthy. When the body suffers, it has a direct bearing on emotional well-being and can bring on depression. The mind and body are a dynamic duo that need exercise to function at their best. Use your brain, eat nutritionally sound meals, drink plenty of water and exercise daily. The rewards are immeasurable!
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