Mental Health Tips for Seniors
Worrying about your physical body as you age is a valid concern, but you also need to take into consideration your mental health. It is normal for everyone's mental health to have highs and lows throughout our lives, but as we age, we risk having our mental health decline.
It is essential to understand why this may happen and how you can keep your mental health in line if you do happen to notice it slipping.
Things that can affect the mental health of a senior
What is it about getting older that puts our mental health in jeopardy? Here are a few reasons why you may see a decline in mental health as a senior.
Loss of loved ones. As we age, so do the people around us, and it may become depressing to have so many people you held dearly pass away and leave you behind.
Isolation. It is a widespread occurrence as we age to start becoming more isolated. This can be highly distressing and could be due to an illness, loss of mobility, incontinence, fatigue, and so many other issues.
Change in environment. It is common as people age to need a live-in caregiver or move in with their adult children. While these measures are meant to be helpful, they can have a negative impact on the mental health of an elderly person.
Illnesses. Growing older sometimes comes with an illness or two, and that can be incredibly stressful. Not understanding an illness or becoming terribly ill can have a massive impact on someone's mental health.
Finances. Having to pay for medical expenses or dealing with an unforeseen financial situation can be exceedingly difficult. Being on a pension or government assistance doesn't leave much wiggle room financially. Not having control over how much income you have or are able to make can negatively impact one's mental health.
A decline in memory. It is normal to struggle with a bit of memory loss as we age. You may forget why you went to the grocery store or a doctor's appointment, and this can e so frustrating and really take a toll on your mind.
Mental Health Tips for Seniors
Eat a balanced diet. This is important for any age, but it is absolutely vital as we become aging adults. Eating well-balanced meals and eating them at the same time every day will keep your blood sugar level and ensure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals to keep your body and mind healthy.
Exercise regularly. Staying active and exercising as you age doesn't have to look the same as someone who is younger. You don't need to work out using heavy weights or take spin classes. You can, but just going for a walk will suffice. There's a term move it or lose it, which is perfect when talking about an aging body. Staying as active as possible and finding an exercise that suits you and your fitness level will keep your body and your mind strong.
Be social. This may get difficult as we age, but it is a vital aspect of keeping our mental health in check. Heading out for a night at the local bingo hall, grabbing a coffee with a friend, or visiting with your family can help to fill the need we all have for social interactions.
Engage your mind. Keeping your mind engaged is an excellent way to keep it healthy and prevent cognitive decline. You can do a puzzle, play a game of chess, do a crossword puzzle, or any activity that gets you thinking will dramatically help the state of your mental health.
Reduce stress. This is something that is usually met with an eye roll. Life is stressful but learning to control the stress that comes your way will do wonders for your mental health. You can practice yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, or get out in nature, and whatever helps you feel more relaxed and keeps your stress levels low and your mental health in tip-top shape.
Be aware of medications. It is common to have to take medication on a daily basis as we get older. Learning the side effects and how they may affect your mental health is essential. If you are noticing a decline in your mental health and think it is from a medication, then talking to your doctor is necessary. Your doctor can adjust the dose or try something else altogether. Taking care of a person as a whole is something that doctors do. They are just as concerned about your mental health as they are about your physical health.
Develop a gratitude practice. Developing a gratitude practice is invaluable if you are looking for ways to increase happiness and fulfillment. You don't need anything to start, and it can be as simple as thinking of a few things you are grateful for in the morning and then again in the evening. You can keep a gratitude journal if you like to look back on during down moments as a reminder of all the glorious things life has to offer you.
Get a good night's sleep. This advice is for all ages, but it is just as important as we get older. Sleep is vital to our overall wellbeing. Create a routine to get a restful night's sleep every night, and take a nap if you feel the need to.
How can an in-home care agency help?
Having a caregiver can help you maintain your mental health, as well as observe you for any changes that may go unnoticed otherwise.
A caregiver can ensure you take your medications properly, eat well-balanced meals, get exercise, and keep you company to ward off feelings of isolation.
Learning to take care of your mental health as you age is vital to maintaining a good quality of life and preventing cognitive decline.