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How older people can improve their wellbeing

25th June 2019

World Wellbeing Week is underway (24-28 June) and it aims to promote awareness for the various aspects of wellbeing.

According to a study by IPPR despite gains in life expectancy and wealth for over-65s, there haven’t been any improvements in national wellbeing in the UK.

Loneliness is something that many older people suffer from and this is especially true for people with mobility problems who struggle to get out of the home and need to use mobility aids such as new walk in showers or stairlifts around their home.

Nick Harris, a member of the Life Coach Directory, explains how wellbeing in older age is more important than ever.

“Due to the remarkable increase in life expectancy, wellbeing in older age is more important than ever, if we are to enjoy the latter phase of our lives.

“It is now recognised that wellbeing in older age and the way you perceive your quality of life is driven more by psychological and social factors such as independence and social interaction, rather than objective indicators of material circumstances such as level of income, education, home ownership or social class.

“Since these psychological and social factors can be influenced by an individual’s behaviour and attitudes, life coaching can be very helpful in supporting older people to take actions which will improve their wellbeing and fulfilment.”

With this in mind, this guide looks at how older people can improve their wellbeing.

Spend time with friends and family

Just because you are older and may have mobility problems doesn’t mean you can’t spend time with your friends and family.

By connecting with people around you such as family, friends, colleagues and neighbours this will help your wellbeing as loneliness can be toxic.

There are many ways in which you can achieve this, such as heading out for a short stroll, going out for the day to visit a nearby attraction and playing board games.

Go on holiday

Going on holiday can help your health and wellbeing and this is something that older people should consider continuing to do in their golden years.

For those of you that are retired, you will have more time to enjoy destinations that you’ve always wanted to visit.

Elle, the food and travel blogger behind Elle Goes Global, explains how going on holiday can help older people’s wellbeing.

“Holidays and travelling enhance your mental and physical wellbeing. Stepping away from your everyday routine and responsibilities gives you the chance to explore a new environment and just enjoy being in the present. Whether it be tasting the local cuisine or exploring the local sights the experiences you have during a holiday can expand your horizons and create endorphins that leave you feeling energised and refreshed.”

But are there any specific destinations that are great for wellbeing holidays and retreats? Here are some destinations you could consider:

  • Iceland – Elle says, “Head to Iceland where the striking geological wonders and the fresh air will boost your positivity instantly, soothe your aching bones in the famous Blue Lagoon (but arrive between 9-11am when it’s less busy and more serene).”
  • Mauritius – Elle highly recommends heading to this tropical island, “Or visit one of the Beachcomber Hotels in Mauritius where friendly spa artisans will create a bespoke wellness programme tailored to your needs including rejuvenating spa massages and wellbeing activities. A favourite of mine is the spa at Canonnier Beachcomber Resort & Spa, nestled in the branches of an ancient Banyan Tree you’ll leave feeling relaxed and refreshed.”
  • Italy – From Rome and Florence to Naples and the Amalfi Coast, there are so many great destinations in Italy that you can visit.
  • Worldwide cruise – If time is not an issue then going on a worldwide cruise might be the best option for you. Large cruises will have a range of activities on offer and this type of holiday will allow you to see many different parts of the world.

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Be active

While older people may suffer from mobility problems, regular physical activity in later life is important - not only will your health improve, but you will get the chance to meet new friends.

There are lots of exercise classes for older people across the UK and there are lots of benefits for people that attend them.

In terms of wellbeing, exercise makes you feel good while being active helps you to maintain a healthy weight. It has been linked to supporting your mood and energy levels and it is very social.

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Take up something that is you

Wellness provocateur, speaker and coach Grace Quantock, who is the founder of Healing Boxes, says the best thing about your wellbeing is that it’s yours.

“You get to decide in what conditions, environments and situations your being feels most well. This may not look like stereotypical images of older wellbeing. Maybe spending time with your family isn't accessible for you, or you don't want to go on a cruise or start ballroom dancing.

“Perhaps you want to join an environmental protest, paint portraits, adopt rescued guinea pigs or read 100 books in a year. Wellbeing is something that fits you. Noticing what you are doing the least, in terms of wellbeing, and seeing how it feels to fill that gap can be a useful place to start.

“You can conduct a personal experiment; how does it feel to add in wellbeing aspects such as movement, creativity, community, nourishment, engagement in your life? How can you make those accessible to your body, life, mobility and socioeconomic needs? I believe in you and your possibilities.”

Learn something new

The saying that you are never too old to learn is very true and learning something new can improve your wellbeing.

Whether it is signing up for a course, learning to play an instrument or attending a dance class for the very first time, it is fun and will make older people feel more confident.

Learning something new is a great way to make new friends as well and it will give you something to focus on.

Tips to improve wellbeing

To recap, there are many things older people can do to improve their wellbeing and here are some of the main points to take away from this guide:

- Spend time with friends and family

- Go on holiday

- Be active

- Take up something that is you

- Learn something new

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This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.