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5 Tips on Bringing Back Your Elderly Loved Ones Zest for Life

February 19, 2021

When an elderly person has lost interest in activities that they used to enjoy it could be signs of Anhedonia. Anhedonia is the loss of the capacity to experience pleasure as well as the inability to gain pleasure from normal experiences that should be pleasurable. Anhedonia is a core clinical feature of depression, schizophrenia, and some other mental illnesses

It is a sad reality that many aging people start to lose interest in the things that they once used to enjoy. This is especially true when you have to watch your aging parent or loved one not want to take part in any of life’s day-to-day activities.

 

Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence amongst many of the elderly and as they age. They tend to lose interest in the things that they once loved to do. As a caregiver or family member, it is normal for you to question what is causing these changes, and of course, try to figure out how you can fix the problem.

 

In this article, we are going to discuss what causes a loss of interest in activities amongst the elderly as well as what steps you can take to try and renew your loved one’s zest for life.

Anhedonia and the Elderly

 

Sometimes you may find your loved one displaying disinterest in any activities that you propose. They will simply say, “I don’t feel like it,” or express no interest at all.

When an elderly person has lost interest in activities that they used to enjoy it could be signs of Anhedonia. 

Anhedonia is the loss of the capacity to experience pleasure as well as the inability to gain pleasure from normal experiences that should be pleasurable. Anhedonia is a core clinical feature of depression, schizophrenia, and some other mental illnesses (source).

Anhedonia is often overlooked in older adults as it mimics the common symptom of depression and other mental health conditions.

The Symptoms of Anhedonia Can Include:

 

·   Withdrawing from any social activities.

·   A lack of relationships.

·   Not wanting to form any new relationships.

·   Negative feelings toward themselves as well as others.

·   Reduced emotions.

What Causes Anhedonia?

In many instances, older adults may want to give up their usual pastimes due to physical changes or other health concerns. An example of this could be a person who used to enjoy bowling but is now using a walker for mobility. 

Anhedonia can also be caused by anxiety that in turn leads to depression. This eventually reaches the point where anxious individuals start to lose pleasure in any activities that may provoke any kind of anxiety. Unfortunately, this can lead to the development of many other depressive symptoms and disorders.

Tips on How You Can Help 

A little less motivation and enthusiasm in older people is a relatively normal occurrence, but when it starts to affect your loved one’s health and quality of life then it is probably time to step in and see how you can help. 

Here are a few tips on ways in which you can help your loved ones to find joy in the activities that they used to love. 

# 1 Bring Their Attention to the Positives  

Life is always filled with both happy and sad times, but when a loved one is suffering from Anhedonia it can be extremely challenging for them to focus on the good times. You need to help them notice and focus on these times by recalling any positive events that may have happened in their lives. 

A good way to do this is to help them reminisce about their good memories by looking at photographs, diaries, and videos. You can even go further and ask them to share their funny stories with you so that you can relate to their experiences. 

# 2 Encourage Regular Exercise

No matter what age you are, exercise is a wonderful way in which to combat stress and improve a person’s mood. When the elderly engage in some form of regular exercise it can even help them to reduce their joint pain and mobility problems. 

Physical activity is known to release serotonin which is a feel-good hormone to enhance mood and combat depression. Try and encourage your loved ones to participate in some pleasant physical activities such as going for a slow-paced leisurely walk or a bit of swimming which has less impact on their joints. 

# 3 Look for Treatment  

Try and help your elderly loved one to get their life back on track by encouraging them to seek treatment. Sometimes a little bit of talk therapy with a mental health professional can significantly help to combat the problem.

On the other hand, a specialist may suspect that these emotional changes could be a sign of another cognitive condition, so it is important to seek treatment sooner rather than later before their condition starts to deteriorate. 

If the problem is mainly physical, then a physical therapist could help to resolve the problem so that your loved one can get back to the activities that they previously enjoyed.

# 4 Organize Additional Support and Care for Your Loved One

Care homes can be a great way to help give your loved ones the social support that they need and can also assist them with their day-to-day activities like driving and housekeeping.

A care home offers countless social benefits and caters to the elderly with a large variety of activities and hobbies that can be enjoyed by everyone, no matter what their disability may be. It can also help your loved one to make meaningful connections and build relationships with other people who are experiencing the same feelings as they are.

# 5 Encourage Socialization

Although it may be hard for seniors suffering from Anhedonia to socialize, it is an extremely important way in which to curb their loneliness. Try to encourage your loved ones to socialize so that they have something to look forward to every day.

They may be extremely reluctant to participate in group activities or become part of a community. If this is the case, then try to accompany them to a few of the events that are being held. They will feel a lot more comfortable with you around and could even start to enjoy socializing and making new friends. You might also suggest that they join a club that focuses on a hobby that they enjoy doing.

If all else fails then set up a regular exchange of emails, calls, and video calls with other friends and family. Technology has given us a wonderful way in which to socialize with loved one seven if it means that you are not in the same room as them. 

Connecting the Elderly: The Benefits of Care2Talk

 

Care2Talk allows for the ability of integration in care homes by using their application directly within the internal systems of the care home. Senior citizens can have contact with not only family and friends, but also with the care home administration, care-aide, kitchen, and in-house doctor

This includes people who are suffering from conditions associated with:

 

·    Aging & Dementia

·    Cognitive and Developmental Disabilities

·    Brain Injuries

·    Vision Impairment

·    Physical Disabilities

 

This iOS/Android App uses a specially designed interface on a mobile or tablet device to create an easy-to-use video chat tool for those with cognitive decline and other impairments who may find alternative methods difficult to navigate.  

Care2Talkoffers remote access that allows administrators to make changes to contacts, view recorded conversations, and even troubleshoot any issues from anywhere in the world

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