How to improve your elderly loved one’s quality of life

As a person ages, they often need to make changes to their lifestyle in order to effectively maintain their quality of life. This may include making alterations when it comes to what they eat, how they get around, and how they socialise, for example.

As a friend or family member, there are many ways in which you can assist your elderly loved one in ensuring that their later years are indeed ‘golden’ rather than ‘grey’. Here are some tips to keep in mind…

Cup of tea with an elderly relative

Cup of tea with an elderly relative

Be there for them

Age UK 2018 states that the number of over-50s experiencing loneliness is set to reach two million by 2026 – a 49% increase in 10 years. Make time to spend with your elderly loved ones, not just for their sake, but for your own benefit too. A simple cup of tea and a chat can go a long way towards perking them up and keeping them social.

Pay attention to their mobility

According to a recent study, in 2017, 20.37 per cent of women and 16.07 per cent of men in the UK had a mobility disability, and the numbers affected increased with age. Reduced or lack of mobility comes with various problems. Obviously, it can make it very difficult for an elderly person to get around, even in their own home. This may lead to the person neglecting to look after themselves properly, often skipping meals or refusing to bathe because it’s all just too much effort for them to handle.

In many cases, there are simple ways in which to address mobility problems. For instance, investing in a stairlift can allow the person to move around their multi-storey home without having to worry about injuring or tiring themselves out attempting to go up or down the stairs. A stairlifts cost can vary, but there is usually a model suitable for every budget.

Consider a caregiver

A caregiver or live-in companion can be a tremendous help for elderly people who are having a hard time doing everything that they used to. The caregiver may assist with meal prep, help with cleaning duties, as well as remind your loved one to take their medication as prescribed. Most importantly, they will extend the amount of time that your elderly loved one can remain at home, as opposed to moving into an assisted nursing facility.

Elderly woman eating dinner

Elderly woman eating dinner

Feed them the right foods

An elderly person’s dietary needs are slightly different to those of an average-aged adult. For example, many will need to increase their protein and calcium intake. It is also recommended that older adults take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin D and consume plenty of oily fish. This is due to the fact that a person’s ability to synthesise vitamin D through the skin decreases with age.

The bottom line? Lots of love, good food, and a bit of extra help here and there is often all that it takes to make a world of difference.