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Supporting the Elderly: 9 Practical Tips to Improve Their Quality of Life

Supporting the Elderly: 9 Practical Tips to Improve Their Quality of Life


More of us are living for longer. Ideally, our senior years should be decades of restfulness and relaxation away from the workforce. 

However, the reality is as we get older, we tend to experience a decline in our physical, mental, and emotional states. Unsurprisingly, this can impact our quality of life. 

If you’re a caretaker to an elderly person, there’s a lot you can do to foster enjoyment and encourage them to feel better and get the most out of their golden years. Here are nine ways you can assist with improving your elderly friend or relative’s quality of life.

1. Purpose and meaning

Work gives us a lot of meaning in life, so what happens when you retire? Supporting a senior person in finding a sense of purpose and meaning can have a positive impact. 

A sense of purpose doesn’t only mean being more engaged with life; according to studies, it can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. In addition, it can lower the risk of dementia, along with promoting longevity.

Encourage your elderly relative or friend to join local community groups, pursue new interests and hobbies, or even work on a casual basis. Volunteering or adopting and caring for a senior pet that needs a home can also give seniors a reason to get out of bed.

Alternatively, even simple tasks like babysitting a child, doing household tasks, and cooking a weekly meal for everyone can be great ways to give your senior friend a sense of purpose. 

2. Physical activity

Good physical health supports quality of life as it could allow seniors to stay mobile and independent for as long as possible. Physical activity, as shown in studies, is also linked to mental and emotional well-being. 

What’s more, getting active is a mood booster that supports better sleep. All of these contribute to better living standards for your senior friend. Help them find out what they like to do in terms of physical activity, whether it’s walking, swimming, or dancing. Encourage them to get enough exercise every week.

3. Social connections

Help your senior relative stave off loneliness by encouraging them to stay socially connected. Along with regular gatherings with family and friends, make sure they’re engaging with the community. 

Helping them join a senior centre, inviting them to a party, and suggesting they volunteer with a local organisation are all excellent ideas for helping an elderly person stay connected with the wider world.

4. Mobility and independence

As research shows, the majority of seniors (79%) consider living independently for as long as possible to be essential to the quality of life in retirement. Maintaining mobility and independence can boost confidence, giving them a sense of satisfaction and achievement in their everyday lives. 

Do what you can to foster mobility and independence in your elderly relative or friend. For example, a mobility scooter can help them get around, do shopping, and run other errands. 

If they’re not tech-savvy, assist them with setting up a phone or tablet. They’ll be able to go online, read the news, access useful and fun content, and pay their bills. Similarly, simple adjustments in the home like grab bars in the bathroom and two-way lights can improve mobility.

5. A healthful diet

A nutritious diet can assist with better quality of life by improving everything from brain health to physical well-being. For seniors, loss of mobility and physical coordination can impact how easily they can prepare their meals. 

Help your senior relative with modifying their kitchen so they can cook easily. Alternatively, assist with their grocery shopping and meal preparation so they’re getting plenty of fresh, whole foods in their life.

6. Mental engagement

Staying mentally active can preserve or enhance cognitive capabilities, which in turn could support a better quality of life. Mental stimulation, by itself, could be essential for life enjoyment and satisfaction as well. 

Try encouraging your senior friend to play brain games like Sudoku, chess, or crossword puzzles. Reading, playing a musical instrument, or learning a new language are other avenues for mental engagement. Cultural experiences like visiting an art gallery or museum can also provide plenty of stimulation for your senior relative.

7. Emotional wellbeing

Check in with your senior friend regularly to see how you can support their emotional well-being. Loneliness, along with depression, maybe more common among older people. These can have a major impact on quality of life. If necessary, help your senior friend seek mental health support or treatment.

Fostering a positive view of life and developing equanimity are other things to encourage in your elderly relative. These can help them confront the challenges of ageing with fortitude rather than pessimism. This resilience, in turn, could boost the quality of life. 

8. Financial management

Finances can have a major impact on quality of life especially if your senior relative feels like they’re unable to participate in social activities due to budget constraints. Help your elderly friend with managing their money.

Make sure they’re getting the right financial advice and investing wisely where applicable. Check they’re getting their due government benefits like any age pension they’re eligible for. 

9. Recognise, respect, and listen

Give your senior friend or relative the gift of your presence by recognising their experience and showing your respect. In addition, let them know they’re useful and needed, even for small tasks. Encourage them to share their knowledge and wisdom. This affirmation can go a long way in countering the sense they might be a burden on those around them, which is a common theme among seniors. 


The secret to a better quality of life for your elderly relative is to support them in optimising their physical, emotional, and mental health. Rather than focusing solely on physical health or medical treatments, address all three aspects of their well-being. Help them with a sense of purpose and meaning in life, maintaining social connection, and staying mentally and emotionally healthy.

Don’t overlook the importance of a healthful diet, exercise, and financial management. Find ways to retain or increase mobility and independence in their everyday life. Lastly, be a supportive, respectful presence in their lives. With these practical strategies, you could enhance the living standard of your elderly relative, helping them live a happier, more fulfilling lifestyle.

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