elderly and pets

Caregiving Monday–7 Ways to Help Senior Adults Deal with Loneliness

Last week we discussed loneliness in senior adults.  This week I would like to explore suggestions on how to help senior adults deal with their loneliness.

Schedule regular outings if possible for your senior adult
Schedule regular outings if possible for your senior adult
  1. Visits—schedule regular visits with family, friends, church {or society/community} members, etc.   Ask friends to visit your senior adult on a regular visit, but remind them your loved one tire easily.  Ask them to not stay for more than an hour or two. If you have a large family nearby, maybe everyone could take a day each week for a short visit.
  2. Schedule outings—schedule regular outings for your loved one {if they are mobile and able to go}.   Find friends already going, ask a neighbor or search for a senior transport company for transportation.  This could be a community {especially if they are in a retirement community} outing, to church, to the theatre or movies, to concerts, or to other activities s/he enjoys.
  3. Senior Action—this is a great resource for senior adults with numerous activities and often you can arrange for transportation through your local senior action center.
  4. Adopt a Pet—if your senior adult loves pets, adopting a dog or cat might be a great idea for companionship.
  5. Music—lifts spirits and helps combat the loneliness.   Find or make CDs of his/her favorite songs that can be played.  Also, inquire at church or in the community about an individual/group that can come sing for your loved one {if homebound}.

    Pets are great companions for senior adults
    Pets are great companions for senior adults
  6. Discover a passion your senior adult loves and have them teach someone else—this could be a neighbor, grandchild, caregiver, etc.  However, it makes them feel useful and needed.  Along with the fact that they are doing something they love.  It doesn’t matter if it’s gardening, cooking, sewing, putting together puzzles, working on model cars, etc.  If your senior adult is physically unable to do the task themselves {not able to bend or stand for long periods} they could sit in a chair and give directions.
  7. Teach technology—if your senior adult is still mentally able, teach him/her how to Skype, email, text, etc.  this is a great way to maintain contact with children, grandchildren, siblings and friends.   If your loved one is mentally unable to understand the setup, possibly you or a caregiver could set things up for regular visits.  This is a great way to maintain contact for family members that do not live nearby.
the food plate

Understanding Your Plate

When I was growing up, we had the pyramid to explain the basics of how we should eat.  This was what was taught in the schools and while very straight forward, was confusing to many people.

Last year the White House introduced a replacement to the pyramid.  This is called the food plate, which shows what your plate should look like at each meal.  In many ways it is much simpler and easier to understand than the pyramid.     food pyramid

Let’s take a look at the food plate for better understanding:

Protein—these are your meats and should not be larger than the palm of your hand.  Research has shown that meats such as fish and chicken are healthier than red and processed meat {hamburgers, hot dogs, steak, etc}.   Red meats and processed meats should be limited to once or twice a week, while you enjoy fish and chicken the rest of the week.

Whole grains—these are your carbohydrates and should cover a fourth of your plate. Whole grains are gentler on your blood sugar and insulin than the refined grains we normally eat.   Some examples of whole grains are whole wheat, brown rice, barley, whole wheat pasta, etc.

Vegetables—almost half of your plate should be filled with some sort of vegetable.  These are low in calories but very filling.  Vegetables are rich in color and nutrients.  A few vegetable suggestions would be green beans, carrots, squash, peppers, etc.

the food plate         Fruits—fruits should make up half of the plate with your vegetables.  Between your fruits and vegetables you would have a very colorful plate.  Many fruits are naturally sweet and cut that craving for something sweet. A few fruit suggestions are banana, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, apple, grapes and oranges.

Drink—water is the best drink in the world.  Standard guidelines recommend eight glasses of water per day, but some people need more.  An occasional cup of coffee and tea are also healthy and beneficial.  Skip the sugary drinks found in soft drinks and sports drinks, while limiting juice, milk and other dairy products to no more than a serving or two a day.

Of course, no action plan is complete without a good exercise plan.   I encourage you to try and exercise at least thirty minutes each day.

Does your plate look this balanced?  Where can you make changes to your plate?

brain health

10 Benefits of Exercise

When I was much younger I loved to walk.  Regardless of the weather, I walked four miles a day.  Then life got in the way, I put on weight and got terribly out of shape. I realized that I had to do something about my additional weight.  The best place to begin was with exercise.

Exercise is not my favorite thing to do but each day I make the choice to exercise or not.  There are a number of benefits of exercise.  Some of these are:

  1. I have more energy after I exercise and get more accomplished that day.
  2. I am in a better mood when I exercise.                                brain health
  3. I am able to release stress in my life when I exercise.
  4. Exercise is good for my heart.
  5. I begin to see changes in my body when I exercise on a regular basis.
  6. I feel better about myself when I exercise.
  7. I keep my blood pressure down when I exercise on a regular basis.
  8. Exercise is a great way to start my day.
  9. Exercise can be something that I enjoy doing {such as walking, swimming, etc.} and not drudgery.
  10. Each day I discover that I’m able to do a little bit more than the day before.

These are just a few of the benefits I have discovered from exercising on a regular basis.  Do you exercise regularly?   What types of exercise do you enjoy?

benefits of exercise