If you’re a caregiver thinking about how best to support an aging loved one, building our five core principals into your care plan can be the best way to start thinking broader about what good health can truly mean:
- Cognitive stimulation
An active mind is a healthier mind. Finding stimulating ways to boost brain health is a fundamental starting point for healthier, happier senior years. Seemingly simple activities like word searches, music quizzes, picture identification, games and spelling channels can all play a part. And ensuring access to virtual options – through resources like our Life Enrichment Guide or MindFit series – is now equally important as seniors face ongoing isolation and social distancing measures.
Healthy eating and overall health go hand in hand. Studies show up to 85% of people living in long-term care facilities – and as many as one in 10 older individuals living in their own homes – experience malnutrition. Scanning someone’s cupboards to ensure they have healthy options on hand, or pre-scheduling grocery deliveries, can help seniors overcome potential stumbling blocks to a healthy diet. True, too, for keeping an eye out for weight loss or any other indicators that someone might not be getting the nutrients they need to fuel overall wellness.
- Physical activity
Movement makes a difference. From mood to immunity, exercise helps seniors be and stay well. Whether you’re walking around the block with a loved one, or ensuring they incorporate exercise safely at home, staying active counts for a lot. Our balanced care method has always focused on building movement in through at-home activities like stretching. Think through your loved one’s routine, and ask yourself: are they moving enough?
- Sense of calm
Everyone relaxes differently. Maybe you favour meditation. Perhaps reading is your thing. Research supports all kinds of ways to cultivate a greater sense of calm as part of a holistic approach to good health. Some suggest that creative engagement should be a priority in therapeutic programming. Figuring out what activities contribute to your loved one’s sense of calm can unlock the door to better health. It’s a big piece of what our caregivers focus on when creating individual care plans, and it’s something you can work in at home, too.
- Social engagement
Staying connected is key. When we meet families to lay the groundwork for how we’ll approach senior care together, we always weave in clear tactics for encouraging social engagement. That takes many shapes, especially virtual right now. Thinking about how you can balance in-person engagement and distanced interactions (by leveraging technology for housebound seniors) can be a determining factor in someone’s well-being for the long term.
Good health for seniors comes down to a balanced care plan that’s broad enough to include cognitive, nutritional, physical, mental and social factors. Thinking through all five in a connected way is the first step to achieving better health outcomes for the seniors in your life.