What are the best ways for seniors to improve their mental health?
As people get older and older, so many signs, problems, issues, and limitations start to show in a significant way. Most people feel these changes in their physical health. For instance, as more time passes, people begin to realize that it’s not easy to run, walk, jump and do chores like before. But the point is that most of them don’t pay sufficient attention to their mental health transitions.
In many circumstances, tracking and managing your mental health is more important than physical health, especially for older people. Some inevitable mind issues occur by getting older, such as memory problems, cognitive decline, anxiety disorder, psychosis, and many other disorders affecting all sides of older adults’ life. Coronavirus outbreak, the social distancing rules, lockdowns, and quarantines, significantly intensified mental health issues, especially in senior citizens, including isolation, depression, affective disorders, etc. That makes mental health a crucial topic to discuss much more than before. Here are some tips and advice for older people to improve their mental health and avoid severe issues in the future.
1. Try some brain exercises
A healthy mind requires an active mentality by doing some practice and exercise. Try brain training techniques or interesting mind games to improve brain performance and maintain its function. It may seem too complex or complicated, but the good news is, they are not! The only thing you have to do is choose some exciting mind games you’re interested in, such as Sudoku, word puzzle, bingo, or anything amusing to keep your minds busy.
You can also learn new skills, create art crafts or do anything that can challenge your brain performance. Researches show that brain training activity enhances brain functions in various parts, including memory capabilities, thinking process, understanding skills, and reaction speed.
Physical exercise does not only enhance body energy and strength, but it also is so beneficial for seniors’ mental health and brain performance. It helps you to remain calm and nonviolent and also reduces your anxiety and stress level. Start with simple and light exercises like jogging, stretching exercises, or morning yoga practices.
3. Stay sociable
As you may know, isolation and feeling left behind can lead to depression and affective disorders; that’s why everyone needs to communicate with friends, family, and people they love. In older adults, it matters much more! Statistics show that loneliness and isolation for aged persons are significantly higher than in young people. Keep in touch with your family members and old friends by meeting or communicating with them. If you’re willing to find new friends, don’t be afraid to go out there and make a unique bond.
4. Make a wish list!
Remember that you had a lot of plans and dreams as a young and energetic person, but you never had enough time and facilities to follow them as you were busy with work, family, children, etc. But as an elderly, you’ll have plenty of time and a sufficient amount of money after retirement. Many seniors start to learn new skills or languages, and some others decide to visit places they were too busy to travel to. No matter what, think about what things you like to do. Trying to achieve some goals and dreams can incredibly boost life expectancy in seniors.
5. Voluntary activities
The voluntary activity makes people feel helpful and give them a life purpose. Since seniors have plenty of time after retirement, many prefer to work with charities and do something for public utility voluntarily.
There are many positive points in the head and leg elevation during sleep. Seniors deal with the urge to urinate in the middle of the night. I think elevating legs in the afternoon and evening can reduce the number of nighttime bathroom trips and may cause more quiet sleep time. Researchers claim that elevating the upper body can bring a profound improvement in symptoms of health conditions like sleep apnea or GERD. In my opinion, adjustable beds can improve sleep quality, especially if the bed could adjust to a level where the person can breathe smoothly and calm the pain.
Today, everybody is promoting the brain-training apps (which don’t improve your mental health) and suggestions that the elderly should play Sudoku, crosswords, or whatever the newest trend is. But aerobic exercise is the best activity found to benefit mental well-being. It helps children, adults, and older individuals, especially those beginning to show signs of mild cognitive impairment, which is a forerunner to Alzheimer’s disease.
Eating healthy, trying new things, learning a new language, avoiding toxins, and sleeping well can also improve senior mental health. There’s also the question of which exercises are the most effective. The best are those that stimulate your brain’s visual and auditory areas. That makes sense. Also, jogging with a friend, where you walk and talk, would give your brain a good amount of mental exercise. After all, if you want the quickest and the most-known effective, get off the couch and start moving.
In my opinion, the most critical point in modern life is to value yourself to experience better mental health. Indulge yourself with kindness and respect, and avoid self-criticism. Make time for your hobbies and desired projects. Do a daily crossword puzzle, join dance lessons, learn to play an instrument, or try another language.
We, as human beings, are responsible for our bodies. Take care of your body: Eat nutritious food, drink lots of water, exercise, and don’t miss getting enough sleep.
One more tricky point: we’re the result of the people around us! Surround yourself with good people. People with large families or social connections are usually healthier than those who lack a support network. Try out activities where you can meet new people, such as a club, class, or support group, or make plans with supportive family members and friends. And finally, learn how to deal with stress; practice coping skills, try One-Minute Stress Strategies, do Tai Chi, take nature walks, and try journal writing. Oh, no, wait! One more thing! Avoid alcohol and other drugs. Some people use alcohol to “self-medicate,” but they only aggravate problems in reality.