For many older people, national holidays can be a time of loneliness – often serving as a reminder of times past or how little social contact they now have. Loneliness can have a profound effect on an older person’s mood and health, and while at a Barchester we provide a social environment that encourages companionship, a lot of older people do live completely alone which heightens their risk of not only depression and anxiety, but also heart disease and strokes. The type of activity suitable for your loved one is as unique as they are. You will need to consider their personality and what they want to do, but also take into account needs such as cognition and mobility.
Visit the family
If possible, arrange a family visit that is suitable for your family member to attend. This can be slightly more difficult if your loved one is less mobile or hearing impaired - if you are visiting someone in assisted living, sometimes a nostalgic afternoon looking through some old family photos can provide enough entertainment and can mean they remain comfortable and relaxed.
Listen to some music together
The auditory system is the first part of our brain that develops during infancy and the last part to leave us as we reach the later years of our life. At Barchester we believe music therapy is integral for people with dementia and can provide emotional context even when the ability to facilitate factual memory is fragmented. On this basis, if you are visiting a loved one in one of our dementia care homes, why not bring them a playlist with some of their favourite songs from their youth? Music has been proven to be very beneficial for the elderly in long term care, so bring along an iPod and get them listening, singing and dancing.
Enjoy some sports
Sports bring people together. Whilst your Grandad might not get around the tennis court like he used to, a leisurely game of lawn bowels can be a great way to exercise whilst keeping it low-impact and getting out in the sunshine. Alternatively, why not all gather round and watch their favourite team on television?
Help them out with some gardening
Help your elderly relative with their own garden – digging, growing and sowing is another low-impact exercise, but if your loved one does not have the mobility to get down low then perhaps take them to a local formal or landscape garden, like the ones we see when we occasionally leave our wonderful care homes to go on excursions and visits. If your loved one isn’t very mobile, showing them a book or photos with their favourite plants could be enjoyable.
If you think you have a loved one who would benefit from the experienced level of dementia care we can provide, make sure to read more about choosing a dementia care home and do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like a chat about securing the best possible retirement for your friend or family member. We take pride in our staff and have a unique approach to the care sector with a dedicated team of specialists who are focused on continually improving the quality of life for our residents.