A study on mental health shows that 20% of people 55 years and above are prone to mental health challenges. The reason for this can be linked to cognitive decline and the loneliness epidemic that accompanies aging.
While a large population of seniors suffer from mental health challenges due to illness, generally, mental health challenges increase with age. However, there are ways to improve your mental health as a senior.
1. Engage Your Mind
The mind is vital in fighting mental health challenges. An inactive mind is prone to loneliness and cognitive impairment. To prevent this, seniors must actively engage their minds. An excellent way to engage the mind is via mind games and activities.
In seniors, mind games stimulate the brain and sharpen cognitive functions such as processing speed, reaction time, and decision making. Some mind activities seniors can engage in are reading and writing, puzzles and games, language learning and instrument lessons.
2. Engage Your Body
Engaging your body is as essential as engaging your mind. In fact, exercise is vital for all stages of life, not only for seniors. The difference, however, for seniors is that physical engagement boosts bodily confidence and reduces risks of falling.
Also, chances are that physically active seniors are more likely to engage in other activities at a seniors' home than those who are not active. And the good thing is that seniors do not need strenuous exercise to engage themselves; they can enjoy low-intensity exercises like yoga, walking, and stretching to keep their sanity in check. Engaging the body also helps seniors to manage stress and depression, and it helps to reduce the risks of age-related mental problems.
3. Keep in Touch with Relatives and Friends
Seniors value long-term relationships as they help bring back invaluable memories. Because seniors are prone to loneliness, they must keep in touch with friends to fight the feelings of isolation and depression.
In cases where they cannot physically meet their loved ones, they can reach out to them via Facetime and other social media platforms. For seniors who cannot use social media apps, a relative or carer can teach them how to use them. If the senior prefers sending letters, they should be allowed to send letters. Writing letters engages the minds and helps to keep seniors active too.
4. Maintain a Healthy Diet
It is common for seniors to change their diet as they age, often due to hormonal changes or biochemical imbalances. Irrespective of this, seniors must learn to eat healthily. An excellent way to maintain a healthy diet is by monitoring one's water intake and increasing the vitamin B and E intake. Most vitamins essential for mental health can be found in fruits and green vegetables.
5. Learn New Habits and Care for a Pet
Learning new habits can help seniors improve their mental and physical well-being. Some habits seniors can learn are gardening, painting, and sewing. The good news is that these habits can be learnt in a wellness program. Learning in a group is fun and seniors' health will be handled better in a wellness program.
Likewise, keeping pets is fun too. Seniors can keep dogs, cats, or small animals like mice or fish as pets depending on the senior's home. Caring for pets keeps seniors active, reduces blood pressure, and decreases feelings of loneliness. It can also be a form of companionship for seniors, and can increase their opportunities for socialisation.
Senior citizens must take care of their mental health. Stable mental well-being can cause physical ailments and anxiety and depression. Engaging your mind and body is an excellent way to take care of your mental health as a senior.
In all, we should not downplay the role of wellness programs in improving a senior's mental health. Therefore, ensure you enrol your aged citizens in a wellness program today to improve their mental health.