Cognitive decline, inactivity, and memory loss all contribute to seniors’ vulnerability to mental health issues. About 15% of seniors experience mental disorders — depression, insomnia, anxiety, or another type of mental illness.
Living with untreated mental disorders can negatively impact the physical health and wellbeing of seniors. It’s also disheartening for family members and friends to watch as their loved ones suffer. You want to help them but aren’t sure how to approach the situation. Perhaps you feel helpless because you’re unsure how to improve their mental and emotional wellbeing.
Fortunately, there is some good news. With a little bit of compassion, you could help stimulate your loved one’s mental health. Here are three ways to do precisely that.
1. Get Active
One of the best things anyone can do to improve their moods is to get physical. Your body releases the happy-making hormones, endorphins, after exercising. Endorphins produce a euphoria effect on the brain, and they reduce the perception of pain and trigger what’s known as “the runner’s high” — or the feeling of a post-workout elation.
Exercise can reduce depression, anxiety, and a negative mood because it improves cognitive function. It’s also been known to decrease symptoms such as social withdrawal and low self-esteem.
Encourage your friend or family member to engage in activities such as taking walks around the block, chair yoga, and any other activity your loved one might appreciate. You could participate in stretch or strength training together to help them — and yourself — get into shape!
2. Exercise the Mind
Just as you exercise your body to keep fit, you must also work out the mind to stay mentally and emotionally fit. It becomes more challenging for seniors to keep their minds active. As people age, they tend to isolate themselves more, develop cognitive and physical illnesses, and refrain from interacting with others. But keeping the mind alert is critical to healthy mental wellbeing.
Why not encourage mind exercises with your loved one by participating in problem-solving games or engaging in learning activities? You can do so many exciting things together, like playing board games, card games, and trivia. Anything that will get the mind going will help stimulate the brain and cognitive function.
3. Try New Hobbies
Trying new things is always a great idea when you want to get out of your comfort zone and old ways. Encourage your friend or family member to:
- Take a language class
- Join a water aerobics class
- Plant a garden
- Investigate community colleges courses
Learning something new will help your loved one focus on the positives in life rather than dwell on the negatives. You might also want to consider incorporating compassionate senior home care into your friend or family member’s daily routine.
This would entail a professional caregiver coming to your loved one’s home to provide healthcare and companionship. Your loved one could enjoy the company of a professional caregiver and engage in new hobbies and activities together! Find a senior home healthcare agency that has been around for a couple of decades, so you’ll know that they’re trustworthy and reliable.
Working on seniors’ mental health is just as important as their physical wellbeing. With these three tips, you’ll help your family member or friend feel their emotional best.