Read Previous ABC Blogs – A & B Accessibility & Balance

C, D, & E – Community, Decision Making, & Emotional Well-Being

F is for Finances and G is for Guardianship

H is for Healthcare, I is for Independence, and J is for Joy

K is for Knowledge and L is for Legacy

M is for Medication Management, N is for Nutrition, O is for Organization, and P is for Physical Activity

Q is for Quality of Life

Quality of life (sometimes abbreviated QOL) means different things to different people. It’s a broad term that encompasses a person’s overall well-being and satisfaction with life. The term is somewhat subjective, but it also carries real weight. Doctors, for instance, consider QOL when making treatment decisions, aiming to improve a patient’s overall well-being, not just address the immediate medical condition.

Quality of life consists of things like:

  • Physical health: This refers to your ability to perform daily activities without limitations caused by illness or injury.
  • Mental health: Your emotional and psychological well-being, including feelings of happiness, fulfillment, and ability to manage stress.
  • Social Relationships: The quality and strength of your relationships with family, friends, and community.
  • Financial Security: Having enough financial resources to meet your basic needs and live comfortably.
  • Environmental Quality: The safety and cleanliness of your surroundings, including your home and community.
  • Personal Independence: The ability to make your own choices and live life according to your preferences.
  • Purpose: A sense of meaning and direction in life, feeling like your life has value.

It can be a struggle for caregivers to meet a client’s physical needs. So many families I talk to have been so busy adjusting to their changing relationship with their loved one that these topics feel far away. This is natural 一 you and your loved one are both in a period of adjustment.

If you worry that your LO’s quality of life could be better, consider these tips. These are all the things I cycle through when I am trying to uplift my clients and help them find some joy in their everyday lives.

  • Look for activities, hobbies, or volunteer work that offers a sense of fulfillment.
  • Create connections. Maintaining close relationships with family and friends, or expanding social circles through groups or community activities.
  • Prioritize physical comfort. Prioritizing pain management, good sleep, and a nourishing diet.
  • Consider professional help. You and your loved one should be open to the idea of seeking support when facing sadness, anxiety, or feelings of isolation.

R is for Resilience

Aging brings change. Some of these developments are joyful, and some are difficult. Even positive change can be difficult sometimes. Resilience is what helps us face these transitions with strength.

  • Focus on what you can control. There will be limitations, but focus on the choices you can make to enhance your well-being.
  • Lean on others for support: Don’t hesitate to ask for help from loved ones, professionals like therapists, or support groups.
  • Mindfulness and gratitude: Taking time each day to notice small joys and acknowledge blessings can boost resilience during tough times.

Quality of life and resilience are not about being happy all the time. These two important qualities are about finding meaning, connection, and inner strength to navigate all that life brings, even in later years.

S is for Safety

Simple changes can make a big difference in reducing risks in the home environment. Many families I consult as an Aging Life Care Manager® have the impression that, in order to make their home safer, they need a major remodel. Usually this is not the case.

I recommend that everyone begins the process of making their home more safe and accessible with a Home Safety Assessment. This consists of room-by-room evaluation that identifies potential hazards like loose rugs, clutter, or poor lighting. A Care Manager can help with this process; we are very familiar with dangers that can lurk in the most benign of places in your home.

Once you’re done, consider fall prevention measures. Installing grab bars and non-slip mats in areas that have tile, laminate or linoleum can be an incredibly big help.

Introduce your loved one to exercises that they can do to improve balance and encourage them to do these with you. Building the muscles and strength it takes to carry yourself and balance will significantly reduce fall risk.

Also, consider medication management systems, safety alert devices, and addressing the risks of wandering, fire hazards, and scams targeting seniors. These can be difficult conversations to have. Your loved one may feel that you’re saying they need to be monitored or are vulnerable or incapable. I recommend letting a care manager introduce these topics. Often these suggestions are met with less resistance when an objective third party brings the idea to the table.

Please read the next blog here:

T is for Technology, U is for Understanding Aging, V is for Vision & Hearing, and W is for Wellness