As we age, our body changes and with it, our needs. Sleep is one of the aspects that is altered with age. «When we get older, the hours of sleep are reduced, so what we must try is that although there are fewer and fewer hours, they are of quality «, explains to ConSalud.es the national coordinator of Ballesol ‘s sociocultural animation technicians , Louis Lopez . In other words, “it is better to get five hours of quality sleep than spend nine hours in bed tossing and turning without resting.”
In older people, the fact of not having a «constant daily rhythm» can favor that at the end of the day «they are not tired» and therefore, «they give their heads a lot of thought and do not rest, and that is what it brings insomnia , ”says López. In this sense, it is essential to work to create good sleep habits that guarantee good rest for our elders. And here, sociocultural animation technicians play a key role.
“When our residents enter the Ballesol centers , it is time to start offering them healthy aging through motivation and encouragement. It is time for them to do what they have never done before, to dedicate time to themselves and have fun”, says this animator. Social and cultural activities allow residents to be entertained, foster social relationships among them and feel accompanied. All this has an impact on a better general state of mind and an increase in well-being and rest, which ultimately results in a better quality of life.
And it is that eliminating worries, stress and anxiety is essential to achieve a good sleep routine, as long as it is accompanied by good habits. In line, López recalls the importance of older people becoming aware of the benefits of having a good sleep routine.
Creating a relaxed atmosphere in the room, avoiding exciting drinks before going to bed or following schedules are some of the recommendations from experts to get a good rest. “This is going to help them, when they go to bed, to really recharge their batteries ,” insists the national coordinator of Ballesol’s socio-cultural animation technicians.
«ANOTHER TYPE OF LEISURE»
Not only do social and cultural activities favor better rest and an increase in quality of life, but «the sense of belonging to a group helps to delay dementias and diseases such as Alzheimer’s .» In this line, Luis López defends that although «lifelong» activities such as bingo, dominoes or cards are very good, today’s residents «demand another type of leisure».
“We try to get Ballesol to offer something innovative on the subject of animation . We have done championships with the Wii, bowling, plays, choirs, costumes, parades, documentaries, virtual reality glasses… A lot of barbarities”. And it is that “ any crazy thing that can go through your mind and motivates you, will motivate them too . They are not different people, they are just older people and they have cultural concerns”, explains López, adding that the older people also appreciate the time and love dedicated to these activities.
Likewise, these activities foster relationships between residents, “creating a great family” . In this way, it is achieved that when they are alone, the elderly continue to share moments and concerns with each other. “Creating such a beautiful coexistence is something very gratifying that all the departments achieve by working with each other.”
“It is very grateful to work with the residents, because compared to what I can offer them, what they give me is much more ”, concludes Luis López with a smile in his eyes that he cannot hide behind the face mask.