Keep Your Mind and Body Sharp With Self-care Activities for Seniors
Especially after the stress of the past few years, self-care has worked its way to the front of nearly everyone’s minds and that includes seniors and those that care for them.
Self-care is incredibly important and there are some great self-care activities for seniors out there.
Whether you are a senior or you care for one, familiarizing yourself with both the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of self-care is an important step towards holistic health.
Keep reading to find out why self-care for seniors matters and how you or your loved one can begin practicing it.
Table of Contents
Why Is Self-Care for Seniors Important?
Self-care is important for everyone but it is especially essential for seniors. Self-care allows seniors to remain healthy and independent for as long as possible. Seniors who take care of themselves well are often less likely to experience health issues and are better able to manage the health conditions that they may already have.
Additionally, self-care is a great way for seniors to increase their quality of life.
Mental health is incredibly important, especially in older communities. Seniors — particularly those who don’t have good self-care routines — may find themselves struggling with depression and, while supporting them through it is important, the best remedy is prevention.
3 Benefits of Self-Care Activities for Seniors
Countless benefits stem from having great self-care routines but some of the most notable include:
Improved mental and physical health
Increased independence and satisfaction
Enhanced social connections
#1: Improved Physical and Mental Health
Taking the time to connect with yourself and care for your mind and body has great benefits for your physical and mental health. Self-care for seniors has been shown to help prevent decreases in self-esteem and promote general wellness.
Self-care is often tied to things like exercise and socialization, both of which are vital for seniors’ physical and mental health.
#2: Increased Independence and Satisfaction
Few feelings compare to the surge of pride and the feeling of accomplishment that accompanies a finished task.
Whether it be finishing a massive project at work or simply having a great night out with friends, being social and doing something important with your time can help you feel better about life in general.
This is true for seniors, too.
One study showed that seniors who focused on social time or having meaningful work to do enjoyed greater independence and higher satisfaction in their day-to-day lives.
#3: Enhanced Social Connections
After a long week, spending time with people you enjoy being around is a great way to de-stress.
Connecting with others is a key part of living a healthy life, especially for seniors. Getting out and enjoying time with friends is a great way to practice self-care.
One study showed that seniors who took the chance to spend time in the community felt like they had more autonomy and freedom.
What Kinds of Activities Are Considered Self-Care?
While most people picture bubble baths or deep-wood hiking when they think of self-care, there are many other types of activities you can engage in as self-care.
Good self-care practices can help you feel happier and be generally healthier. Whether you’re upping your workout routine for increased vitality or finding times of silence in your week to clear your mind, you are likely to see an uptick in your overall wellness.
Self-care activities include things like:
Eating healthy foods
Working out regularly
Taking time to relax
Being with friends
Finding peaceful solitude
9 Self-Care Activities for Seniors To Promote Health and Happiness
Just about anything that fills your tank and is a healthy habit can be self-care. While there are countless other options, here are some of the top self-care activities for seniors.
#1: Connect With Friends and Family
Human beings naturally crave connection with those they love and seniors are no exception to this rule.
Staying connected with friends and family is vital for seniors to feel loved and supported which, in turn, is vital to their overall well-being and emotional health.
Some great ways to maintain social connections include:
Joining special interest clubs
Talking on the phone
Sending emails to loved ones
Having regularly scheduled interactions such as:
Sunday dinner with family or friends a couple of times each month
A weekly breakfast or coffee date with friends
Religious activities such as weekly church services
Connecting through video chatting like Zoom or FaceTime
#2: Learn Something New
One great way to keep your mind active is by learning new things. For seniors looking to try out a new skill, there are tons of options.
Some great new things to learn include:
Games such as chess
Some seniors may find that they enjoy starting a sort of “side hustle.” Even if you don’t need to bring in extra income, having a rewarding job can be a great way to care for yourself.
Some potential options for seniors include:
Tutoring high school and college students
Selling things they make like paintings or knitted crafts
There are a variety of ways to learn these new skills and hobbies including:
Especially for retired seniors, finding a way to spend time helping others is a great way to practice self-care. Volunteering offers a plethora of benefits for seniors:
Volunteering offers seniors the chance to be part of a community and be social
Volunteering gives seniors something outside of themselves to work for
Volunteering can help establish a sense of purpose and accomplishment for seniors
Volunteering provides an avenue for productivity and offers seniors ways to give back to their communities
There are countless opportunities locally and nationally for seniors who want to get involved in the community. Some excellent volunteer options for seniors include:
Serving at a local soup kitchen
Become a CASA or GAL volunteer and work with kids in foster care
Serving at a local nonprofit for a cause they feel strongly about
Volunteering in their religious community
Mentor kids and teens or utilize their professional skills through a local YMCA
Many organizations are simply looking for passionate and kind-hearted people to get involved and jump into the cause. Serving the community through volunteering is a great option for seniors who want to stay active and have something meaningful to be a part of.
#4: Dance for Exercise
Exercise doesn’t have to be boring.
Seniors looking for a bit of fun might want to consider dancing as a form of exercise. Dancing is a great movement method for seniors because it helps to improve balance, coordination, and strength.
You don’t have to join a Zumba class or become a ballerina. There are great ways to incorporate dance and movement into your life. Many seniors enjoy …
Country western dancing
#5: Get Adequate Sleep
Catching enough Zs is essential to being a generally healthy person. Sleeping enough is extra important for seniors.
Some great ways to ensure you’re getting enough sleep include:
Getting to bed at a good time
Sleeping in a dark room
Shutting off screens at least two hours before sleeping
Lack of sleep can lead to an abundance of issues including:
Lowered immune strength
#6: Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
As they say, you are what you eat. And if you want to be healthy, you need to eat healthy foods. That doesn’t mean you have to gnaw on nothing but raw vegetables — there are a variety of healthy food options that are tasteful and nutritious.
Your body relies on the food you eat as its main source of nutrients and nutrition. Giving your body healthy fuel helps it function better.
Eating well is self-care because you are intentionally giving your body what it needs. You should try and make sure that your diet has a healthy mix of:
Thinking about what you eat and ensuring you nourish your body well is a great way to be more energized and reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases.
You don’t have to have a green thumb to start a small garden.
Gardening is an excellent way for seniors to keep active and enjoy some time in the sunshine. Just tending a few plants can greatly increase mental health and provide opportunities for social interactions.
If cucumbers and tomatoes aren’t your thing, consider some indoor plants. Whether you’re great with all things green or killed a dozen cacti, there is a houseplant for you.
#8: Listen to Audio Books
If reading is difficult for you — or you just plain don’t enjoy it — give audiobooks a try. Audiobooks provide a great avenue for seniors to stimulate their minds and engage with new worlds and ideas.
Listening to audiobooks is a great way to take in new information. Audiobooks are just as beneficial as paper books and some find them to be even better.
The best thing is that there are tons of different avenues available for accessing audiobooks so just about anyone can find a method that works for them.
#9: Spend Time in Nature
Spending time in nature is a great way to care for yourself.
Whether you are traipsing through a forest, listening to the birds sing above you, or simply stepping outside into the sunshine for a few minutes, nature is a beautiful and healing space.
Spending time in nature has countless benefits for seniors including:
Increased social opportunities
Better mental health
Senior Services of America: Helping Seniors Stay Active and Engaged With Independent and Assisted Living Options
At Senior Services of America, we take pride in caring for our residents and encouraging them to care for themselves. We offer many living options ranging from independent to memory care.
Our communities offer beautiful outdoor spaces, plentiful social opportunities, and many other incredible benefits. We create opportunities for our residents to participate in enriching and enjoyable activities and creative expressions.
At Senior Services of America, our resident’s mental and emotional health and independence are some of our greatest priorities. If you or your loved one is looking to make the move to an assisted living facility, we are here to walk you through the process.
Find your nearest community to speak to an advisor today.