Guest Post Courtesy of Gabrielle Baglino of Oak Street Health.
As we age, our bodies and needs change. That’s why it’s so important to take an ongoing interest in elderly health and wellness, as maintaining good health becomes increasingly important to our quality of life.
Health and wellness can be evaluated in seven dimensions. Once you identify which areas need attention in your life, you can determine which of the seven dimensions is most important to you and work on improving that area first.
The needs for each dimension vary from person to person and correspond with personal preferences. Let’s break down the seven dimensions of senior health and wellness and examine what to look out for in each dimension.
1. Physical Health and Wellness
To maintain optimum physical health and wellness for elderly people, it is important to eat a well-balanced diet, get plenty of rest and relaxation, and get moderate exercise daily.
Take some time each month to evaluate your personal fitness level and make any needed adjustments. It is also important to have your blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose checked on a regular basis, and keep up with all other necessary medical tests.
Make these tests part of your routine physical examination by your doctor. Don’t put off this type of evaluation; it is important and can save your life!
2. Intellectual Health and Wellness
Intellectual health and wellness is about developing and maintaining the mental and emotional capacity to function at our highest level.
This dimension includes:
- Learning new things
- Keeping our knowledge and skills current
- Staying mentally alert
- Controlling our anger and stress
- Dealing with change and adversity
- Making good decisions
- Having fun!
It’s essential to keep challenging ourselves mentally and emotionally. If we don’t, we will become stagnant and our capacity to deal with the demands of everyday life will diminish. We will begin to lose our mental and emotional agility and become more prone to depression, anxiety, and other negative feelings.
3. Environmental Health and Wellness
This dimension focuses on the needs of our living conditions. We should be aware of the toxins in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the products we use every day.
It also includes being aware of the toxic effects our environment can have on us.
The needs of this dimension vary from person to person. Some people need a cleaner environment, while others have a higher tolerance for mess and toxins.
It is important to create a clean, toxin-free environment for ourselves by using only the best cleaning supplies and buying only from manufacturers who are dedicated to creating quality products.
We must also be aware of the impact our pets have on our environment. Many people have allergies or other health problems associated with pet dander, fur, or saliva. If this is a problem for you, you should discuss it with your GP.
4. Vocational Health and Wellness
It is important to stay physically and mentally active, but it is equally important to stay flexible and develop the ability to deal with change.
Elderly people who are bored may develop a feeling of being “sluggish.” This feeling can lead to a loss of appetite, a lowering of immune function, and other negative emotions.
Maintaining the vocational dimension of wellness can mean very different things for each person. Some elderly people are retired or don’t have any specific vocational goals.
This dimension is more about how you are contributing to your community, friends, and family rather than how you are contributing to a corporate entity. It can also be about your hobbies or other work you do.
Nonetheless, it is important to keep your skills and capacities vital and growing by doing one or more of the following:
- Taking classes in new skills
- Continuing education through reading, listening to lectures, and watching videos
- Learning new things through independent study, like a foreign language
Some people need more structure, while others need more independence. It is important to create a work environment that is conducive to your particular needs.
If you are an independent person who needs flexibility, it may be best for you to work at home. If you are a more structured person who needs more direction, it may be best for you to work together in a group.
5. Social Health and Wellness
Social wellness is about developing and maintaining the capacity for healthy and satisfying relationships with others. This dimension includes our ability to maintain close personal relationships, have meaningful friendships, and interact with our family and friends on a regular basis.
Social wellness also includes our capacity for intimacy and our ability to maintain and strengthen our social connections. It is essential to have friends and family members who care about us and want the best for us.
This dimension can be very difficult for seniors. As we get older, many of us begin to lose our capacity for intimacy. It is important to set aside time every week to connect with our loved ones. If we don’t, we will begin to lose our sense of connection and feel isolated and alone.
6. Emotional Health and Wellness
This dimension includes our capacity for positive emotions like joy, gratitude, and amusement as well as our ability to experience less pleasant emotions like grief, loneliness, hopelessness, and anger.
These are all normal and important aspects of being human. They are what allow us to grow, adapt, and change. It is important to have a variety of experiences that give us something to reflect upon.
Reflecting on challenging times in our lives can be very constructive if we choose to do so. It can lead to insight, understanding, and growth. Reflection can also lead to feelings of inadequacy or unworthiness if we choose to dwell on negative events.
7. Spiritual Health and Wellness
Even if you are not a religious person or if you have doubts about the existence of a higher power, it is still important to consider spirituality as a dimension of health and wellness in your life.
Spirituality is not the same as religion. Religion is about following a set of rules and obeying a dogma. Spirituality is about the relationship we have with the divine or the universe or whatever you choose as your system of value.
It is about developing a deep sense of connection and peace; finding joy in the journey and not just the destination; living each day as though it were our last and making that day as valuable as we can.
This is especially important for elderly people. As we age, many of us begin to lose our capacity for optimism and a belief in the goodness of the world. This can lead to feelings of despair and hopelessness and a lowering of our immune function and an overall malaise.
The seven dimensions for health and wellness for seniors are not a “one-size-fits-all” formula. Each of us is unique and our needs vary from day to day, moment to moment, depending on our mood, and the demands of our life.
However, this framework provides us with a useful way to think about our needs and the needs of those around us. It can help us identify areas where we need to make some adjustments and strive to create an environment that supports our best efforts to stay healthy and happy.
At Lifeline24, we believe in protecting your wellbeing and independence. Our personal alarms are ideal for providing extra peace of mind and helping to support your health and wellness. You can find out more about our personal alarms by checking out our useful guide. For more advice on health and hobbies, read our blog. If you have any questions about our alarm service, please get in touch. You can contact our friendly customer service team on 0800 999 0400.