There is a link between mental health and physical health and mind–body interventions may increase physical health by improving mental health. These practices seek to improve a person’s quality of life by helping them socialize with others, keep friendships, do hobbies, and enjoy whatever physical exercise is appropriate. Caregivers encourage people to leave their homes for the health benefits of the resulting physical and mental activity. Depending on a person’s situation, a walk through their own neighborhood or a visit to a park may require planning or have risks, but it is good to do when possible.
Depending on a person’s situation, it may be useful for them to meet others also getting similar care services. Many places offer exercise groups to join. Social clubs may host hobby groups for art classes, social outings, or to play games. For elderly people there may be senior clubs which organize day trips. Caregivers help people have a healthy diet. This help might include giving nutrition suggestions based on the recommendations of dietitians, monitoring body weight, addressing difficulty swallowing or eating, complying with dietary restrictions, assisting with the use of any dietary supplements, and arranging for pleasant mealtimes.
A healthy diet includes everything to meet a person’s food energy and nutritional needs. People become at risk for not having a healthy diet when they are inactive or bedbound; living alone; sick; having difficulty eating; affected by medication; depressed; having difficulty hearing, seeing, or tasting; unable to get food they enjoy; or who has communication problems. A poor diet contributes to many health problems, including increased risk of infection, poor recovery time from surgery or wound healing, skin problems, difficulty in activities of daily living, fatigue, and irritability. Older people are less likely to recognize thirst and may benefit from being offered water.
Difficulty eating is most often caused by difficulty swallowing. This symptom is common in people after a stroke, people with Parkinson’s disease or who have multiple sclerosis, and people with dementia. The most common way to help people with trouble swallowing is to change the texture of their food to be softer.Another way is to use special eating equipment to make it easier for the person to eat. In some situations, caregivers can be supportive by providing assisted feeding in which the person’s independence is respected while the caregiver helps them take food in their mouth by placing it there and being patient with them.