When you’re caring for an ailing family member, it’s easy to feel alone. Yet millions of other people just like you carry a similar load. You’re not alone. The senior population is booming, with 46 million seniors over 65 living in the U.S. today. By 2060, that figure is projected to double. Understanding the needs, lifestyles and views of today’s seniors can help you better understand the needs of the senior you love and care for. Here’s what you need to know.
The arrival of summer means your travel dreams can finally come true. People of all ages are subject to wanderlust, and it is hard to dispute the sense of adventure and relaxation that comes from a trip. Science has recently started to back up those happy feelings that come from vacation, no matter if your trip is a few towns away or across the ocean. In 2013, a study published by the American Psychological Association noted that vacations can combat stress and negative emotions by removing us from our otherwise stressful lives. But the benefits of taking a vacation go beyond stress relief. A study out of the Wisconsin Medical Journal demonstrated that women who vacation twice a year are far less likely to suffer feelings of depression than women who vacation less that once every two years.
No matter how excited you may be to move into your new apartment at a senior living community, there can still be some accompanying anxiety. Transition at any age can be overwhelming, and moving into a senior living community is no different. Fortunately, the transition trauma doesn’t have to last too long or feel too sad. There are many ways to ease into your new home and new routine, including a bit of help from your furry best friend.
You’re never too old to be physically fit. Age accelerates the loss of muscle and bone mass. This can lead to weakness, play a role in osteoporosis and increase the risk of falls. Exercise can reduce this risk. Seniors who remain physically active may live longer, maintain a more independent lifestyle, have less physical pain due to joint health issues and arthritis, have a lower risk of dementia and have better mental health.
Personality types allow us the chance to know more about ourselves and those around us. Generally, there are two broad categories that people fit into: extroverts and introverts. There are benefits and challenges for each of the types, and sometimes people evolve from one type to another as they experience new phases in life. Older adults can often be designated as introverts or extroverts as well, and no matter what type of personality they have, all seniors can find homes and friendships in senior living communities.
Senior living is a broad industry, giving care and options for older adults who live with different challenges and preferences. Today’s seniors are fortunate to have such a variety of solutions to suit their needs, but so many choices can quickly lead to feelings of confusion. For example, if you have done your due diligence to narrow down your senior living choice to assisted living, you may be surprised to find out there are multiple levels of care within your assisted living community. Each of these levels of care features a different cost, as well as a different amount of hands-on care.
Two-thirds of seniors need help performing some of the activities of daily living. Many will eventually need some form of care. Quality care is not cheap. It requires skilled, highly trained caregivers, a safe living environment and plenty of activities to keep the mind and body as active as possible.
Everyone knows the saying, “you are what you eat,” and current research only continues to demonstrate the importance of nutrition choices. Eating the proper foods can do more than decrease weight gain. Now we know that foods can decrease inflammation, diminish the effects of chronic skin disorders and even aid in decreasing gastrointestinal complications. For older adults, nutrition is even more vital because the body requires a different mix of vitamins and protein to maintain wellness.
We all accumulate stuff. Some of it we can’t even remember buying. But some of it tells the story of who we are. From art drawn by grandchildren to family heirlooms, our stuff is more than just the result of all the money we’ve spent. Transitioning to senior living offers a chance to evaluate how you view your possessions, consider what really matters, and downsize.