6 Things Seniors Should Have on Their Bucket Lists

By Keith Davis, 9:00 am on May 29, 2017

Your senior loved one may have several lifelong passions, and preparing a bucket list can help him or her pursue those activities. Here are a few bucket list ideas your loved one may want to consider.

1. Get an Animal Companion

Caring for a pet can dispel depression, elevate mood, lower heart rate and blood pressure, and boost self-esteem.

Interacting with pets increases circulation, flexibility, and muscle strength. Beloved animals can also fill the emotional void caused by the absence of loved ones, and caring for pets gives seniors the motivation to take care of themselves.

Consider visiting an animal shelter and adopting a mature dog or cat, as they can be easier to manage than younger animals. You can even bring your loved one to an acquaintance who has a pet.

A professional caregiver can also help your loved one maintain his or her health. Green Valley, AZ, non-medical senior care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.

2. Let Go of Grudges

Bitterness affects peace, compassion, and mental clarity, and it can physically harm your aging loved one. Anger releases cortisol, a hormone that raises blood pressure, pulse, anxiety, and agitation. Your loved one can’t enjoy the present while focused on past offenses.

Forgiveness can be liberating. It eases stress, strengthens immunity, increases serenity, and boosts heart health. By letting go of grudges, your loved one may enjoy life more.

You can help your loved one forgive by explaining how resentment impacts health. Your loved one can also try to understand the person who has hurt him or her, and contemplate the reasons for the person’s actions.

3. Record Happy Memories

When your loved one shares happy memories from the past, others can learn more about his or her life and family history. Narrating memories activates neural pathways, boosts cognitive function, and enhances thinking capacity. Activities such as writing stimulate brain regions required for visual, emotional, and language processing.

It’s best to store memoirs on a computer or USB drive. If your loved one is unable to type, he or she can dictate to someone who can. Another option is using dictation software that translates speech into text such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking, LilySpeech, and Speechlogger.

Your loved one should create a title and file for each story so he or she can keep track of topics.To maintain progress, your loved one should keep a regular schedule of narrating sessions, perhaps one hour weekly.

4. Learn a New Skill

According to a 2013 study reported by ScienceDaily, learning a new skill boosts cognitive health and wellbeing. Mentally challenging activities can strengthen neural connections. In the study, seniors who learned quilting or digital photography had enhanced memory after three months. On the other hand, elders who engaged in non-demanding mental activities showed no cognitive benefit.

Other mentally engaging skills seniors can learn include playing bridge, chess, cooking, painting, origami, writing poetry, speaking a new language, or playing an instrument.

For families living in Green Valley, AZ, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.

5. Conquer a Great Fear

Surpassing fear requires determination. When your loved one is victorious, he or she may feel liberated, exhilarated, and strong. Once your loved one’s fears are behind him or her, other anxieties may also become manageable.

6. Volunteer

There are a number of ways your loved one can benefit from volunteering. According to the National Institute on Aging, engaging in volunteer work stimulates the brain and helps seniors stave off loneliness and depression.

When volunteering, your loved one can enjoy a sense of purpose and the thrill of accomplishment. The physical effort involved can keep your loved one active and boost his or her health. Ideal volunteer activities for seniors include:

  • Leading tours as a docent
  • Joining a community garden
  • Assisting at an animal shelter
  • Serving at a soup kitchen
  • Tutoring a student

Here are organizations offering unique volunteer opportunities:

RSVP – Members mentor kids, work on environmental projects, and help victims of natural disasters.

Seniors Helping Seniors – Volunteers conduct research, respond to emails, answer phones, and support elders, their families, and caregivers.

Foster Grandparents – This mentoring and tutoring program serves disadvantaged and special needs children. Volunteers are needed in hospitals, schools, and child care centers.

Meals on Wheels – Drivers transport meals to housebound adults and senior centers.

Your loved one can also find volunteer work by contacting Senior Corps. If a disability makes it difficult for your loved one to volunteer, writing a check to charity can provide similar mental and emotional fulfillment.

Volunteering is also a wonderful way to remain physically active, slow cognitive decline, and delay the onset of dementia. For dementia home care Green Valley, AZ, families can count on, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our compassionate caregivers use revolutionary memory care programs to help seniors stave off the progression of dementia, and they can also assist with a wide variety of important everyday tasks, including bathing, grooming, exercise, and cooking. To learn about our customizable senior care plans, call one of our professional Care Managers at 520-625-2050 today.

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