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How To Help Your Senior Parent Stay Mentally Healthy and Happy
Whether your senior parents live with you or on their own, it’s a good idea to stay tuned in to their mental state. Depression, dissatisfaction, or boredom can creep up on anyone and seniors are no exception. If you notice any signs of boredom or depression in your senior parent, then find a practical way to suggest she or he follow some of these tips for keeping mentally fit:
1. Keep Up With What’s Going on in the Outside World
Staying interested in what is going on around you keeps you from brooding or feeling alone. It can be as easy as reading the newspaper, going online, or even joining a social networking site. Talk to your parent about what’s going on in the world regularly and find a magazine, paper, or other media source of interest and make sure your aging parent has regular access to it.
2. Spend Time with Other Seniors
Everyone enjoys spending time with people their own age. It’s wonderful to have a conversation with someone who can remember what the world was like during one’s childhood, teenage years, and more. Seniors also enjoy the company of other seniors with shared interests. If your senior parents don’t have a strong network of friends in place, ask them about joining a community group for people their own age.
3. Feed the Spirit
Whatever your faith, keeping your spirit strong keeps your mind healthy and calm. If they aren’t already involved, talk to your parents about joining a church, meditation group, or study group.
4. Get Out of the House
There are a lot of activities for seniors in most towns, whether interests run to sports, arts and crafts, day trips or educational opportunities. Encourage your parent to try something that will bring them into contact with new people, rather than a solitary activity.
5. Take Advantage of Lifelong Learning Opportunities
Many towns have embraced the idea of lifelong learning courses offered inexpensively at colleges and universities for members of the community. One can learn a foreign language, landscaping, quilt-making or painting. It’s a great opportunity for seniors to learn something they’ve always wanted to know.
6. Give Back Through Volunteering
Nothing gets us out of ourselves faster than helping someone else. Opportunities to volunteer are everywhere: schools, hospitals, churches. Many non-profit organizations depend on their senior volunteers. Help your parents search for a volunteer organization that inspires them and talk to them about signing up for a few hours a week.
7. Just Read
Reading keeps you mentally alert and interested and it’s the cheapest entertainment in town. You don’t even have to leave your favorite chair. If your senior parents love to read, offer to go with them to the library or consider gifting an e-reader to make it even easier for your aging parent to access all kinds of wonderful reading material.
8. Nurture Close Relationships
Close relationships with family and friends are one of the top secrets to life-long happiness. Make sure your senior parents get lots of visits from family, friends, children and pets. If your aging parents belong to a church or meeting group, call the minister or group leader and ask her or him to send someone out to visit. If you have children, make sure they regularly visit their grandparents for quality time together.
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