Poor memory? Weak body? Loneliness? These are some of the negative impression of elderly life.

Honestly, it is not uncommon that your children and grandchildren all live away from you when you are old. Considering their responsibility to earn money or study, it seems useless to blame them for leaving the elderly alone.

However, even though you live by yourself, with a limited amount of money, you can still lead a happy elderly life. Here are some tips for elderly people to enjoy their life.

Raise A Pet

One of the most important thing that elderly people need is companion. Imagine that you are in your early 70s, your spouse has passed away several years ago, and you have to eat dinner on your own. Then you recall the days when your children were still young. You hold the little baby in your arm, petting him or her.

A furry pet can be a good substitute of children, to some extent. Petting a soft and furry animal can bring you comfort. Pets are faithful and dependent, so the elderly can regain the feeling of taking care of their children. What’s more, the act of feeding, walking and washing the pet, can create a sense of usefulness, so that the elderly are more confident after retirement.

A dog can be a comfort for an elderly person living alone ©agingcare.com

For an elderly person, it will be better to choose a pet that is quite and mild. Small size, good health condition and low energy level are three main concerns when picking a dog for seniors. Compared with dogs, cats are viewed by most people as “cool”, so a cat will suit an elderly who prefer solitary lifestyle better.

Dance & Choir

Entertainment for elderly life is much more than watching TV shows at home! Take part in the dance or choir team, and show the energy of grannies and grandpas.

Music is one of the traditional Chinese six art (Rites禮, Music樂, Archery射, Charioteering御, Calligraphy書, Mathematics數).Activities such as dancing and singing, is a mix of fun and exercise, which is good for both the physical and mental health of elderly people.

By joining the dance or choir, elderly people can make friends with other seniors in the same community. What’s more, being part of the team can create a sense of belonging, which can compensate for the loneliness of living alone, especially with the help of uniforms.

Play Chess

Chess is one of the most popular sports all over the world. In China, we can often see elder men playing chess in the public parks for the whole afternoon.

Chinese elderly men are playing chess©Chinesetouristagency.com

Playing chess is a good method to exercise your brain. It can delay brain degeneration and avoid illnesses which can affect memory such as dementia.

Learn New Technology

Another recommendation I want to make for all the elderly people is to learn new technology.

By learning how to search the internet, elderly people are more informed of the changes going on every day, thus they will not feel like being out-dated. What’s more, since more and more young people are relying on Facebook or Wechat (in China) for daily communication, an elderly person can contact their children more easily if they know how to use these tools. Also, they can find more topics to talk with younger generations by finding what the current trend is.

An old couple use Facetime to meet grandchild. photo by James Estrin©The New York Times

The above are only a few of the things that elderly people can do to have a happier life. But the most important thing is to have a healthy lifestyle and keep optimistic. Of course, having fun by themselves doesn’t mean elderly people don’t need the companion of their children anymore. So, no matter how busy you are, go back home and talk with your parents as frequently as possible.