Among the top complaints for retirees is that they are bored. This may sound strange given that retirement is a time that is thought of as one where people can finally do whatever they want, whenever they want, but the truth is, it is not always what people expect.
A classic example of this is brought up in The Retirement Maze, by Dr. Robert Pascale. Dr. Pascale explains how when he retired at the age of 51 he thought that he would be able to “really live.” Instead, he found that when the brief honeymoon of retirement was over, the euphoria of it all wore off, and he was basically wandering through the days of his “best years” lost.
The reason for this is because the main difference between having a career and being retired is that retirement is not generally thought of to be a structured process. And when there is a lack of structure in one’s life over a long period of time, it is not going to be long before there is a cloud of discontentment hanging over your head.
However, by following a few basics, ensuring the quality of life for an older loved one can be done with ease.
Follow a Daily Schedule
Routines are great to break once in a while, but without structure, there is nothing to mix up. While a large number of seniors are not able to work, or choose not to, there are still many opportunities to have an active lifestyle. The key is consistency.
A great start to a senior’s day is receiving the newspaper. It not only keeps them up on current events, but for much older people, remembering what day it is can be a challenge. The daily news solves two problems.
A potential third problem that a newspaper can solve is that it lists what is going on in a person’s community. Seniors may find out about a widows-widowers group that meets up weekly they had not known about previously. They may also find that a local thrift shop is in need of a volunteer two days a week.
Keep Close Contact
People need their loved ones close by, and this is especially true for older people with more time on their hands. Losing touch with relatives can actually be physically painful because their presence brings joy, which leads to the release of Dopamine (a chemical that makes us feel pleasure) into our brains. The opposite of this can lead to increased Serotonin.
In addition, it has been found that seniors are regularly targeted by scam artists, but by having a close relationship with mom or dad, you will know what is going on in their lives, including any “new opportunities” they have come across, which is especially important to those of us caring for elderly relatives because it could jeopardize one’s estate.
The key factors to remember are that seniors need a schedule to suit their lifestyle, and we all need our loved ones nearby.
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This post was written by Ken Rogers, who has his parents in senior care Toronto with the excellent Living Assistance Services.