If you're not a doctor, you might find yourself at a loss for how to care for the elderly members of your family, especially if they live in a nursing home and not at their own residence or with a family member. But while you might not be able to do much for their physical health, you play an important role in caring for the mental health of your aged relative.
So how do you know how you can help keep your relative's mental health on the up-and-up while the doctors take care of their physical body? If you're looking for a few ways to improve the mental health of an elderly relative, then here's what you need to know.
1. Surround them with the familiar
Nothing makes humans quite as happy as feeling at home does; however, since your relative can't be brought home, it's up to you to make them happy by bringing home to them. Similar wall decorations, trinkets, colors, and even shapes to those that they had at home (if the facility permits it, of course) can go a long ways toward making your relative more comfortable and relaxed in their new living space.
2. Play mind-enriching games
Part of the reason why the mental health of those placed in elderly care homes can deteriorate is because they're not getting the mental stimulation that they need in order to stay healthy and happy. That's where you come in; playing games that help exercise your relative's mind while letting them have an enjoyable time can help their mental health (and let you have fun in the process).
While games like Scrabble, chess, or Clue are obvious choices here, even games like Would You Rather (making sure to ask for an explanation for every answer so that they'll have to reason it out) or Sudoku (if your relative is a little more numbers-oriented) can be perfect for making their brain work a bit harder—and an occupied brain is a happy brain.
3. Increase physical touch
Humans need physical touch for more reasons than just feeling loved; physical contact can reduce depression, stress, anxiety, and a whole other host of mental health problems that might plague your relative in their new environment.
Even if you're personally not the touchy type, try to incorporate calming physical touches into your care regimen for your elderly relative. You'll be amazed what a hug here and a shoulder touch there can accomplish.
If you feel an elderly relative's mental and/or physical health is declining, reach out to a local company like Polish Helping Hands that can aid you in finding the right care.