Gandhi once said happiness is a “state of mind.” Aristotle called it “the meaning and purpose of life.” However you opt to define happiness, take comfort in knowing there’s plenty of research suggesting a generally positive attitude is good for older adults. If you’re caring for an older loved one, take a moment to learn why seniors should be as happy as possible as they age.
Better Heart Health
Heart disease is the top health-related condition that affects seniors, according to the American College of Cardiology. One of the ways to reduce the risk of having heart issues is to reduce anxiety and stress, which is what can happen when older adults strive to remain happy enough to minimize their worries and keep things in perspective.
In addition to reducing the risk of heart attacks, lowering stress levels by maintaining a positive attitude can contribute to a wide range of health benefits for older adults. In fact, multiple studies suggest a link between lowered levels of stress hormones like cortisol and the following benefits:
• Lower blood pressure levels
• Fewer gastrointestinal/digestive problems
• A reduced risk of developing dementia
• Fewer issues with depression
• A lower risk of developing chronic conditions like diabetes
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care Richardson, TX, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
A Stronger Immune System
Healthline.com points to a study involving 300 healthy adults exposed to the cold virus as proof that happiness positively impacts the immune system. The participants who considered themselves happy were less likely to develop a cold than the unhappy subjects, and this can be especially beneficial for older adults since seniors are often susceptible to seasonal viruses like the ones that cause the common cold and the flu. A stronger immune system could also make it easier to recover from illnesses or surgery
According to research referenced by the National Institutes of Health, increased positivity reduces the risk of death in generally healthy adults by nearly 20 percent. A study published in the journal Psychology and Aging produced similar results.
Maintaining a positive attitude can be beneficial for you as well. Family caregivers need to care for their own wellbeing. If you’re caring for an aging loved one and are feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide respite care. Richardson families who want to prevent burnout can turn to Home Care Assistance. One of our professional caregivers can assist your loved one at home while you take a nap, go to work, run errands, or go on vacation.
Lower Risk of Cognitive Decline
A study in the British Journal of Psychiatry notes that being less anxious and more positive could contribute to a reduced risk of cognitive decline in older adults. Part of the reason for these findings may be that happier seniors are more likely to find ways to remain socially engaged and mentally stimulated with various activities, which is ultimately good for an aging brain.
Reduced Pain Perception
PositivePsychology.com cites research suggesting happier people may have a reduced perception of pain, which could make it easier to manage chronic conditions like arthritis or spine-related issues associated, in part, with the natural aging process.
An Overall Healthier Lifestyle
Seniors who are happy are more likely to pay attention to advice from their family and their doctor. It may be easier to convince your loved one to adopt healthy habits, such as:
• Getting regular exercise
• Being more mindful of his or her eating habits
• Getting a good night’s sleep
Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same home care services. Families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. To schedule a no-obligation consultation with one of our friendly Care Managers, call (469) 573-4213 today.