6 Ways Seniors Can Boost Their Mental Health and Well-Being
The past two years have been quite challenging for everybody and seniors have been particularly effected. The pandemic, coupled with extensive days of isolation has led to mental health issues being a major concern for this demographic. Research shows that seniors are at a two times higher risk of developing anxiety disorders. With these statistics, it is important that they are well taken care of to safeguard their mental health. Proper care and awareness can go a large way in combatting seniors' mental health issues. Here are a few ways to help seniors stay mentally healthy:
Stay Social to Boost Mental Health and Well-Being
One of the most effective ways to keep mentally fit is to stay connected with the outside world. Seniors can schedule to call or meet with family members, get together with peers, volunteer in the community or join a social or book club.
There are also virtual ways seniors can stay social; for example, they can have a chat with family members or visit museums virtually. Staying social goes a long way in fighting loneliness and other mental health issues such as depression.
Exercising has been proven to be effective not only in helping seniors keep fit but also in minimizing the risk of mild depression, anxiety, and stress. Taking a walk around the block and participating in simple exercises boosts mental health. Even if a senior is wheelchair-bound, they can still partake in simple exercises to keep fit. Creating a schedule can help ensure that your senior loved one fits exercise time into their daily routines.
The brain also needs exercising to stay healthy and functional. There are several games that are designed for seniors that can help challenge them. Crossword puzzles are suitable for testing memory, while word games can help stretch your memory and keep it optimally functional. Other games such as Sudoku, jigsaw puzzles, and math and word games can be quite effective in boosting seniors' mental health.
Get a Pet
Animals can be a good source of companionship for seniors and have been shown to make seniors more engaged, less agitated, and less depressed. Encouraging seniors to get a pet of their choice is a helpful way to keep them busy. It can particularly be helpful if they live alone since they are more prone to loneliness, which can lead to anxiety and depression.
Watch Out for Signs of Mental Health Deterioration
Since seniors are more vulnerable to mental health difficulties, keep track of their health at all times. Then, identify any signs that signal mental health concerns. Whether they exercise, socialize, or play games to alleviate these problems, they can still develop mental health issues, especially if they have a family history of one or more mental health problems.
Be on the lookout for signs such as sadness that last more than a few days, anxiety, memory loss, deteriorating language skills, desire to isolate, and lethargy. Identifying these signs early on can allow them to get help before the conditions worsen.
Talk to a Professional About Your Mental Health
As a senior, it is important to remember that there is no shame in having difficulties with your mental health. So, do not be embarrassed to seek help. If you notice any signs of mental health deterioration, talk to a professional about shifts in your mood, trouble sleeping, anxiety, and lack of motivation or finding fun in things you once enjoyed.
Help Seniors Boost Their Mental Health and Well-Being
Mental health issues are normal, and there is no shame in being open about them. As a caregiver or family member, it is important to be there for seniors dealing with mental health concerns. This can go a long way in helping them live a fulfilling and productive life.
If you or your senior member loved one needs extra care, Elite Home Healthcare is here to offer the necessary assistance right in the comfort of their homes. Reach out to us to access our professional and experienced caregivers.
Written by: Leah Ganz
Leah Ganz, RN, BSN is the Director of Patient Services at Elite Home Health Care. She has an extensive background in homecare and previously worked in various specialties including pediatrics, pain managemnet and internal medicine. She oversees allpatient services across Elite's departments.