Did you know that approximately 15% of adults that are 60 and over have a mental disorder? Taking this into account, you should do your best to care for the mental health of your senior loved ones. It might seem like a difficult task, but it is definitely worth your time and effort!
If you do not know how to go about it, this article should help you out! Here, you will find a list of things that seniors can do to stay mentally healthy, ranging from playing mind games, staying physically active, and staying connected with friends to volunteering, caring for a pet, and eating healthy. Check it out!
Stay Mentally Active
As we age, our minds do not stop growing and changing. In fact, the key to staying mentally healthy is to keep your mind doing what it is supposed to do – think! What better way to do that than by keeping yourself mentally active through activities such as playing games, doing puzzles, reading, and writing? It should be noted that seniors who are more mentally active are not only more likely to remain mentally fit, they are also less likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Connect With Friends and Family
Staying socially connected is also an essential part of keeping yourself mentally healthy. It is said that out of all the ways that you can stay mentally and emotionally healthy, this is one of the best! Take note that this does not mean that you should spend every waking moment taking care of your senior family member. In fact, it is recommended that your loved one gets some time to themselves once in a while.
As for making friends and meeting new people, you can encourage your loved one to join local clubs or volunteer groups. If you may not always have time for your senior, you can contact companies like myhometouch.com, which provides home-care services.
Stay Physically Active
While staying mentally active is vital, staying physically active is just as crucial in keeping your senior loved one’s mind in optimal shape. The two complement each other well because physical activity helps keep the body in shape, which, in turn, keeps the brain active. It goes without saying that if your elder loved one has a physical disability, you should always consult with their doctor before starting any exercise program. However, there are plenty of exercises that they can do even if they have a physical disability. If possible, encourage them to participate in group activities such as yoga, walking, and Tai-Chi.
For many seniors, volunteering is something that they enjoy doing. Not only does it help people who are less fortunate than them, but it also gives them a sense of purpose. This is very important because a sense of purpose contributes to the overall mental health of seniors.
Aside from helping people in need, volunteering also offers many benefits for a senior citizen volunteer. For one thing, research shows that volunteers have a lower chance of developing depression than those who do not volunteer. They also have a lower chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia!
Caring for a Pet
Caring for an animal companion may be just what your senior needs. Pets provide companionship and unconditional love. Some studies even show that pets can also reduce stress levels and lower blood pressure.
If you’re looking for an animal companion for your senior loved ones, make sure that you choose an animal species that will be compatible with their living situation. For example, cats are great pet options for an apartment-dwelling senior citizen because they are self-sufficient and don’t require much attention, but dogs would be better for someone who has a backyard because they need more space than cats do.
Senior citizens are at risk of developing high cholesterol levels and diabetes, which means they should watch what they eat carefully. To make sure your loved ones take all the necessary nutrients, try incorporating many vegetables and fruits in their diet because these foods are rich in vitamins and minerals like folate and potassium.
Take Part in Social Activities
Social activities are extremely important for seniors because they help reduce stress, isolation, and depression caused by the loss of friends and family members through death or separation. Social activities allow seniors to interact with other people and experience positive emotions such as joy and happiness by sharing meaningful conversations and engaging in fun activities together. Here are some examples of social activities that your loved one can try:
- Rent movies together
- Go out for dinner together
- Attend an art class together (painting, pottery, etc.)
- Take part in book clubs
Taking care of the mental health of your senior loved ones is not an easy task because they might not always be receptive to what you have to say. However, if you can show them how much you love and care about them by means of gentle reminders and kind suggestions, then they might just hear you out.
That being said, ensure your loved ones always have something interesting to do. Provide them with puzzles, try getting them a pet (if they are able to take care of one, of course), or encourage them to take part in various activities.
Jessica Fernsby is a content creator mostly writing about topics related to health and self-care.