3 Ways To Improve Your Quality of Life
How would you rate your quality of life? On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being low and 5 being high, what number would you assign to the quality of life you’re living today?
The World Health Organization defines quality of life as how a person lives their life “in relation to their goals, expectations, standards and concerns.” Quality of life is so important, there’s actually a month dedicated to it. January is International Quality of Life Month, which sounds like a great way to start a new year.
At Right at Home, quality of life is so important to us, we’ve made it our mission: “To improve the quality of life for those we serve.”
But how can you improve your quality of life? Here are three lifestyle factors that might help.
At Right at Home, our business is helping people who want to stay independent as they age. And with good reason—people who feel they have autonomy and control over their life live longer. “If I … can take care of myself, then I shall be satisfied,” said one older adult in a survey by Uppsala University in Sweden. “It’s important not to have to trouble others, and to be able to carry out the duties I can.”
Staying independent: Staying independent while aging—or, put another way, not feeling like a burden to others—is closely dependent on health. Eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, don’t smoke, and drink only in moderation. Get an annual physical exam and all the recommended screenings, and keep your vaccinations up to date. See a dentist regularly, and take care of your mental health. Consider making in-home adaptations that can prevent falls and help your mobility as you age, such as grab bars in the bathroom and improved lighting.
“Dozens of studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends, and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer,” according to an article from Harvard Health Publishing. “One study … found that lack of strong relationships increased the risk of premature death from all causes by 50%—an effect on mortality risk roughly comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, and greater than obesity and physical inactivity.”
Building and preserving relationships: This is sometimes easier for extroverts and for people with large families or longtime friends. If that doesn’t describe you, find comfortable ways to connect with like-minded people. That might be talking to a neighbor, going to the local senior center, or doing volunteer work. Volunteer work, in fact, has been shown to create a sense of purpose, which many people also equate with quality of life. Find easy ways to stay in touch with friends and family—with letters, calls, emails or whatever works best for you.
Having a Positive Mindset
Attitude and resilience have both been shown to affect physical and mental health. “Studies have shown an indisputable link between having a positive outlook and health benefits like lower blood pressure, less heart disease, better weight control and healthier blood sugar levels,” notes health columnist Jane Brody of the New York Times. Resilience is our ability to cope with and bounce back from adversity and, like a positive attitude, it can be learned and improved.
Learning how to cope: Most older adults have experienced what some might consider the “mixed blessing” of many ups and downs in life. How does one gain such a balanced attitude about coping with whatever challenges life brings? “Like building a muscle, increasing your resilience takes time and intentionality,” says the American Psychological Association. “Focusing on four core components—connection, wellness, healthy thinking, and meaning—can empower you to withstand and learn from difficult and traumatic experiences.” It’s no coincidence that those four components themselves are common factors in quality of life. Dipping a toe into the pond can have many positive ripple effects.
Quality of Life Can Improve Longevity
What does quality of life mean to you? What are the things that bring personal meaning to your life? It’s good to think about these questions, because improving your quality of life could improve your longevity. Yes, research has shown that a person who feels they have a good quality of life might live longer than someone who doesn’t. Why not give it some thought today?
Right at Home provides in-home care to seniors and adults with disabilities. Our screened and trained professional caregivers can provide services that help improve quality of life, from nutritious meal preparation and light housekeeping to help with hygiene and dressing. Use our office locator to find the nearest office and ask about a FREE in-home consultation.