Our aging parents need therapeutic activities to help them stay well-rounded and healthy.
But because of the unpredictability of the world, keeping our elders entertained has been a challenge.
This week, I’m sharing the importance of therapeutic activities for the elderly and why it’s necessary to have therapeutic interventions.
Humans are social beings. We thrive on social interactions.
The relationships we build over time help us live better lives. And for seniors, social interactions bring important health benefits.
Family and friendships are essential in our aging parent’s emotional and mental well-being.
It provides a sense of belongingness and acceptance. And it also improves a senior’s overall life quality.
However, more seniors are prone to suffering social isolation.
Nearly one-fourth of adults aged 65 years and older are considered socially isolated.
Factors such as living alone, the loss of family and friends, hearing loss, and chronic illness contribute to this.
Social isolation also increases health risks, including a 50% chance of increased dementia.
Poor social relationships are also associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease. It also ups stroke risks to 32%.
Seniors who face loneliness also experience at least a 68% increased risk of hospitalization.
That’s why it’s our role to ensure that our aging parents still get quality relationships. It’s also our responsibility that they avoid feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Therapeutic interventions help improve the well-being of a person who needs help.
We call it an intervention because the person may deny the need for it. They may even be unaware of the situation and refuse the help.
Therapeutic intervention can be applied to people with cognitive function disorders and memory problems. It can also be used for people with eating disorders, and depression.
Interventions can be helpful in modifying behaviors that can hinder the well-being of family and friends.
They can be staged by an individual or a group. It can also give friends and family the chance to approach their loved ones in a safe manner.
Holistic health is important for all ages, especially for our aging parents. And therapeutic activities and interventions can contribute greatly to their holistic health.
We need to provide them with the support they need to make sure their mind, body, and spirit are well and good.
Doing mentally challenging activities and tasks can improve memory and make the brain more adaptable.
Recreational therapy and other physical activities can strengthen them and avoid falls and activities.
While meditation and regular communication with family and friends can help them find purpose and a better emotional life.
And during these times of restrictions and lockdowns, it’s vital to keep them involved and in touch.
Learn more about therapeutic intervention and strategies here.
Dementia is an umbrella term for a wide range of specific medical conditions.
These disorders are caused by abnormal brain changes and result in a decline in cognitive activities.
Alzheimer’s make up at least 60-80% of dementia cases in the US.
Vascular dementia refers to microscopic bleeding and blockages that reduce blood flow in the brain.
On the other hand, people with mixed dementia experience changes in the brain simultaneously.
One of the best ways to avoid this is to provide therapeutic activities for seniors that encourage creativity and problem-solving.
Choose activities that relate to their work, life, and interests. Get them involved in a number of routine and leisure activities in and around the home.
Help them find activities that build on their skills and talents. And focus on engagement rather than results.
Here are some of the best therapeutic activities for seniors you can do at home.
Chess provides users with a rigorous mental workout.
Studies show that chess players use both left and right hemispheres. Thanks to its rules and techniques, it effectively challenges the brain to recognize patterns and outcomes.
Over the years, chess players have developed an intuitive approach to playing. It improves cognitive abilities and strategic thinking and keeps mental decline at bay.
Learn more about the benefits of chess here.
Jigsaw puzzles, like chess, are ideal for patients with dementia.
It helps relax the brain and increase focus. It can also stimulate both sides of the brain, especially with creativity and movement.
Solving the jigsaw puzzle gives the person a feeling of accomplishment. It can also evoke good memories of themselves and their loved ones.
The key is to find the right kind of puzzle that will pique their interest. You can even use custom or personalized photo puzzles.
Provide your aging parents with space for assembly. It can be a wide corner table with proper lighting and a light-colored tablecloth. This way pieces are easier to find.
Art has always been therapeutic for many. And in the past years, artists have started creating coloring books catering to adults.
What makes them different?
Most adult coloring books are designed to relieve stress. Their intricate designs challenge the fine motor skills and attention spans of even the most detail-oriented adults.
Research shows that mindfulness art therapy for women with cancer was beneficial. Doing art decreased physical and emotional distress during their treatment.
Studies also show that complex geometric designs reduce anxiety levels in adults.
Check out some adult coloring books here.
Growing old has its unique challenges.
Some have a hard time adjusting to a new season in life. Add the isolation brought on by the pandemic, and it can result in issues with mental health.
Even if they’re perfectly healthy, lockdowns and movement restrictions can cause anxiety and boredom in adults.
Boredom can lead to multiple emotional issues like feelings of intense restlessness, worthlessness, and even feeling unloved.
And while it can be a challenge, there are still great ways to help fight boredom at home.
Here are some ways you can help.
Also known as pet therapy, animal-assisted therapy is a technique that uses animals to interact and improve a senior’s quality of life.
Studies show that seniors with heart conditions who own pets tend to outlive those who don’t.
Pets also provide emotional stability during stressful situations. It also raises seniors’ self-esteem.
Some even see animals as substitutes for distant children. And because animals listen without judgment, they make great companions to lonely seniors.
Most of the elderly today would say that they didn’t have the time to live back in the day.
Some would have been busy raising families or climbing the corporate ladder. Some would say they never got the chance to do what they want to do.
The good thing is, you can use this time to encourage them to pick up a new hobby.
Encourage them to write their memoir. Have them learn baking.
Help them build a garden.
You can even help them set up their own Youtube channel!
The possibilities are endless. Plus, you also get the chance to bond with them and support what they love.
They may show resistance at first. But the moment they rediscover the joy and excitement of learning something new, I’m sure they’ll have fun.
Just like these fun grandparents on Tiktok:
There are two types of loners.
Intentional loners are those who prefer their own company to the company of others. And they’re happy just the way they are.
Then there are unintentional loners who isolate themselves because of mental illnesses or social alienation.
Some elders respond according to their past experiences and traumas. Some are inherently shy.
There are those who prefer to be alone due to religious reasons or social rules.
So what do you do in these situations? Truth is, it’s perfectly fine to let them be.
What’s important is to let them find happiness in solitude. And once in a while, check on them and what they need.
Just watch out for symptoms like sudden weight loss, restlessness, and disrupted sleep schedules.
When this happens, then it’s time to intervene.
Learn more about introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts here.
Being active is good for everyone.
Physical activities, stretching, yoga, and exercise are great for boosting self-esteem. It also relieves anxiety and helps manage depression better.
Unfortunately, seniors with mobility issues have limited options. But it doesn’t mean they can’t do it.
The key is to check with your doctor and take enough breaks in between.
Ergonomic tools are also available now. Using these tools can ease the tension and keep your aging parents entertained.
You might think crocheting, knitting, and cross-stitching might be painful. But it can actually help increase attention to detail and reduce arthritic stiffness.
Aquatic exercises are also great to keep them moving.
The water creates buoyancy that can help decompress joints. It also provides sensory feedback and reduces the perception of pain.
Low impact exercises like yoga can also help reduce stress and chronic pain. It can also improve blood pressure and blood flow.
Check out more activity ideas you can try with your aging parents today.
You don’t need to find expensive therapeutic activities for your aging parents.
What’s important is that they’re keeping themselves busy and they’re also having fun.
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That's all for today.
Take care, keep mom safe and have a great day!