As professional home caregivers for those in the Palo Alto area, we know that contrary to popular belief, there really is such a thing as happy and healthy aging as we all reach age 50 and beyond. Many people think once you get to a certain age, you’ll most certainly face health issues, depression, and the feeling that all that is ahead is the end. Studies have proven that you can choose to age in a way that is happy and healthy!
How do older adults perceive themselves? A study conducted by the University of Concordia in Montreal found that fostering high self-esteem is just as important for grown adults as it is for young children. It seems that adults who have high self-esteem are better when it comes to coping with health issues than those with lower self-esteem. Why? Low self-esteem increases levels of cortisol, a stress hormone; this can lead to sleeping problems, anxiety, depression, and even an increased risk of memory and heart related diseases.
Improving self-esteem results in real benefits for seniors, often helping them overcome the stress that can occur after retirement or poor health conditions.
Feeling good about life directly correlates to health, according to another study that surveyed more than 3,100 senior citizens who were in their 60’s. These participants were asked questions about various areas of their lives such as regrets they have, the people they enjoyed sharing company with, what it was that made them happy, and what they enjoyed doing in regards to hobbies. Also considered in the study were the walking ability of the participants, and what activities they engaged in on a daily basis.
After studying this group for eight years, the research indicated that those who enjoyed life and were happier exhibited a reduced decline in physical health than those who did not enjoy life as much and were not as happy. Ultimately, those who had fulfilled, happy lives were overall healthier, and less likely to develop physical problems that made certain activities such as climbing stairs or getting out of bed more difficult. Those who are happier with life even walk at a faster speed.
Does your elderly loved one have a positive life attitude? Here’s what seniors should do to become healthier and happier:
Laughter and humor are important, and help us stay healthy and energetic. Watch a funny movie, ready a humorous book, or just engage in some fun conversation or memories with friends.
Keep physically fit. Happier aging requires that seniors take action to care for their own health. Walking, stretching, and eating healthy foods is an important start, and helps seniors remain mobile.
Focus on the positive by taking up an old hobby or passion. When we focus on the “horrors” of aging, it affects our health and happiness. It’s important to engage in happy activities you enjoy, rather than concentrating on the negative such as how many more years you may have left. Make an effort to enjoy life!
Volunteer your services or adopt a pet. You may be able to volunteer your help at a local hospital, or adopt a pet that needs a home. Seniors like to be needed, and they enjoy caring for others or taking care of a pet. Pets are wonderful therapy.
Practice yoga, Tai chi, or meditation to find your inner Buddha.
Communicate with others and socialize. Whether through social media, community work, or joining a book club if you’re an avid reader, staying connected with others who have similar interests is a vital key to happiness.
At Care Indeed, we know the importance of true happiness for healthy aging, and understand Palo Alto seniors need to have high self-esteem and feel necessary. For those who need just a little help to those who need more intense care, we provide in home caregivers who are dedicated to helping those who are elderly stay healthy and happy.