A Gerontology Nurse’s view of self-care. Letter to Self-Care Voices
We Need to Create a Self-Care Home Environment For Seniors
With the number of Americans over 65 expected to double to 98 million by 2060, self-care for seniors will become an increasingly important topic. The seniors in my life are all fit and independent. However, they could do with being taught about the seven pillars of self-care. This will help them to create a home environment in which they can flourish. Below are some home design options that I have used to improve a senior loved one’s exercise, nutrition, level of social interaction and stress level, so that daily self-care becomes easy and effective.
Building a Home Gym
The World Health Organization recommends that older adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week in order to stay healthy. However, exercising as you age can become increasingly difficult. Although walking to the store and hiking for fun count as exercise, there is more that we can do. I recently helped to install a simple home gym for my mother-in-law. She experiences anxiety about exercising in public and is finding it increasingly difficult to make her way to the nearest gym. With a few pieces of exercise equipment and some weights, I have helped her to take time daily to focus on self-care.
Getting Connected Online
There are many advantages to using the internet, but one third of seniors are currently offline. I have therefore been encouraging all the older people in my life to setup an internet connection in their homes. This will help them to stay connected with friends and family, even if they are spending increasing amounts of time within the safety of their four walls. Social interaction is essential preventative care against memory-related conditions such as dementia. Being connected online will also enable them to order nutritious food to their front door, rather than relying on others to help them with their shopping bags. Eating healthily into old age is a core component of self-care.
Downsizing The House
Sometimes, self-care means stripping back and simplifying life. This doesn’t mean going without life’s pleasures, but rather cutting out unnecessary stress. Older people have some of the largest homes in the country, often with spare rooms that require too much maintenance. Although my parents were reluctant at first, moving into a smaller home helped them to free up the time and energy to focus more on self-care by eliminating stress.
With these changes, I have helped to put the golden back in golden years of seniors close to me. You too should aim to fill your loved ones’ retirement with joy and relaxation, by creating the conditions which allow for a focus on preventative healthcare and wellbeing. This gives the independence back to seniors, so that they can remain healthy and happy for longer.
Cas Early – Gerontology Nurse