Loneliness, memory loss, immobility, and other aging-related challenges can really take a toll on one's mental health. Coupled with poor physical health, it is just a matter of time before depression, anxiety, or mood disorders set in.
According to a study done by CDC, nearly 20% of adults over the age of 55 experience some type of concern with mental health, with the most common being depression and anxiety.
Mental issues can have a huge impact on a senior's life and can significantly affect quality of life. Poor mental health can lead to social difficulties, physical impairment, and can complicate the treatment of chronic illnesses.
The good news is that mental health challenges are treatable and can, at times, be prevented, even in our senior years. Here are some of the ways seniors can improve their mental health:
It is well-known that physical activity improves mental health. Fortunately, the physical activities you choose don't have to be anything vigorous. A daily 15-30 minute walk, or even doing simple house chores, can greatly boost your mental health. Seniors can also make use of the front yard or backyard to carry out some stretching exercises while getting some sunlight.
For seniors with limited mobility, mobility aids designed for seniors can help ensure ease of movement both outdoors and indoors.
Seniors especially should maintain good nutrition throughout their golden years. Good nutrition is equal to good mental health!
Although stepping out to get foodstuffs may be challenging for many seniors, family and friends can help. They can also take advantage of online delivery services as they deliver groceries right at the doorsteps.
In addition, there are charity programs that offer seniors takeout meals and delivery services.
Some stores have also organized senior shopping hours to make it safe and easier for seniors to access all the foods and vegetables they need to maintain a balanced diet.
Hobbies, such as crafting, gardening, and playing musical instruments, can be vital in maintaining seniors' mental health.
Playing online games like bridge, Scrabble, board games, and cards are also an excellent way for seniors to keep their minds sharp and healthy.
Because regular physical interaction may, at times, may not be available for some seniors, joining a social group or religious organization that offers opportunities for seniors to participate in book clubs and other hobbies via online platforms is a great alternative.
Just as you stimulate your body, you also need to stimulate your mind to improve the health of your brain. Just like your hobbies, mind games are great at keeping your mind active. They sharpen your thinking skills, jog your memory, and help improve decision-making.
Staying in touch with friends and family is a great way to keep your social life active, which staves off feelings of loneliness and isolation. Thankfully, technology has made it very easy to socialize. You only need a smartphone, laptop, or other mobile device,to stay connected with your family and friends through mediums such as Skype, Facetime, and Zoom, where you can talk and see people's faces.
With seniors classified as one of the most vulnerable groups when it comes to mental health concerns, the importance of staying healthy can't be overemphasized. By adopting the tips we've mentioned here, seniors can improve their mental health and continue living healthy and productive lives, even in times of physical isolation.