Mental health issues can take a toll on the physical health and quality of life of a senior. Even though mental health conditions are more common in older adults, depression and other illnesses are not normal aspects of aging.
Individuals over the age of 55 can experience a range of mental health issues. The most common concerns are a decline in brain functions leading to cognitive impairment, anxiety disorder, and mood disorders such as depression.
Fortunately, senior mental health can be treated. Besides medical intervention through prescription medications and therapy, older adults can engage in several activities and resources to keep them engaged and in good mental health.
Below we have compiled a list of seven top tips that can help seniors keep their minds and bodies healthy.
7 Tips To Improve Mental Health In Seniors
As seniors try to settle into their life after retirement, circumstances and family dynamics change. The key is to provide them with a nurturing and supportive environment so they can keep up with everyday activities they love.
Keeping this in mind, the below-mentioned tips can further help improve and maintain mental health for seniors.
1. Perform Activities That Stimulate the Brain
The human body needs physical activity and exercise to remain fit and healthy. Similarly, the brain needs mental exercise and stimulation to avoid a decline in cognitive function.
Playing brain games can help a senior make their brain active and sharpen thinking skills such as reaction time, planning, short-term memory, and decision-making skills.
The following activities contribute to brain health since they keep the mind engaged and working towards solutions:
Reading & Writing
According to studies it has been proven that reading can make your brain healthy and enhance memory, it can reduce stress and risk of mental illness. Keeping a journal can also reduce stress and anxiety.
Learning A New Language
By learning a language, you exercise brain regions that are often affected by aging, increase your confidence, and even socialize with others who know the language or are learning it.
Playing A Musical Instrument
Music stimulates the brain and improves memory in seniors and reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Engaging In Puzzles & Mind Games
In addition to being enjoyable, various puzzles have proven to delay age-related cognitive decline and enhance senior mental health.
2. Engage In Physical Exercise
Another great way to enhance the mental health of seniors is to participate in physical activities. Seniors can go on walks or take yoga classes/ dancing classes or sign up for physical training. Daily exercise can reduce stress levels among seniors and improve cardiovascular health.
With regular exercise, seniors can get fit. Low-impact strength training can reduce the risk of falls and other age-related problems like bone fractures and joint pain. It can make seniors more confident about their bodies.
Exercise can also improve blood flow and keep blood pressure in check while reducing the risk of heart disease.
Seniors who are not so confident while performing physical activities can use fall detection devices to mitigate the risk of fall injuries.
3. Stay Connected With Family & Friends
Age and distance can make it harder for people to keep close relationships with old friends.
For seniors, keeping in touch with friends and family can be fulfilling because it will keep feelings of loneliness and isolation away.
Seniors can learn how to use social media to connect with old friends. They can also plan social activities with their friends using mobile applications. Scheduling a call with a friend or family member can be a great way for seniors to express themselves and connect with others.
4. Pick Up A New Hobby
Once seniors have retired they can finally invest their time in ideas and activities they have been putting off their whole life. These new activities can renew a senior's outlook on life and provide meaningful goals.
5. Become A Pet Owner
The unconditional love and companionship that animals offer can help to keep seniors busy and active. Having a pet can also decrease stress and make the owner happy. A senior with a pet will also have increased opportunities for socialization.
However, some seniors might not want to own a pet, in such cases, they can volunteer at an animal shelter. Spending some time with animals can be a fun activity.
6. Routinely Evaluate Medications
Seniors experiencing mental health issues should also have their medications evaluated. Certain medications can increase stress and cause anxiety. Consult a pharmacist or mental health professional regarding the possible side effects of your medications.
In some cases, taking these medications in a prescribed manner is necessary for seniors to control their health condition. To avoid an overdose a pill organizer for seniors can be used for medication management of such medicines. The automatic medication dispenser from Northwood Intouch is an excellent option.
7. Relieve Stress & Anxiety
Seniors can have feelings of stress and anxiety due to many reasons. However, these issues can be mitigated with the help of the below-mentioned tips.
Breathing exercises can be a great way to calm nerves and achieve a more peaceful mental state. Slow, deep breaths can slow down racing thoughts and calm the mind.
Mindfulness and meditation
Mindfulness can also help reduce anxiety. Seniors can practice by sitting in a comfortable position and closing their eyes and focusing on their breath and body. Slowly and gradually they can try to let go of any anxious thoughts. Mindfulness can also help improve sleep quality. YouTube has many guided meditations and there are many free apps as well.
Self-care is essential in enhancing mental health. Seniors making poor lifestyle choices can struggle with mental health.
The first step in taking control is by taking time to relax and care for themselves. Then they can focus on maintaining a healthy diet as eating healthy has both physical and mental benefits. Getting 6-8 hours of sleep is also an essential part of self-care and can greatly improve mental health.
Seniors can struggle with mental health issues in silence without us even realizing it. Therefore, it's important to keep a check and observe their behaviour for signs of deteriorating mental health.
The above-mentioned tips are ideal ways for seniors to be proactive when it comes to tackling mental health conditions. For more information on how to keep seniors safe, healthy, and active, visit Northwood Intouch.