Explore ways improve Seniors Mental Health and Well Being starting today

By: | Tags: | Comments: 0 | May 17th, 2017

Senior health care isn’t just about medical treatments and medications. While people are living longer than ever before, and modern medicine has come a long way when it comes to treating illness and disease, it’s important to know that the most effective ways to improve the quality of life for seniors has nothing to do with medicine.

Mental Health Affects Physical Health

For seniors, mental health problems are real, and common. Depression and anxiety can set in even when there has been no previous history.

There are some common catalysts for depression, including the death of a spouse, losing friends, family moving away, loss of mobility, chronic illness and other difficulties. Isolation is a big factor. Millions of seniors experience depression each year, but it’s estimated that only 10 percent actually receive help. Some risk factors include: Living alone, chronic or debilitating illness, certain medications, family history of depression and the recent loss of a spouse or other loved one.

Anxiety is another problem that affects many seniors. In fact, seniors are twice as likely to suffer from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) than they are dementia. This may be a result of declining health, and fears of being alone.

How To Improve Mental Health For Seniors

Helping the senior in your life is easier than you think. It’s the simple things that make a huge difference. Isolation is one of the biggest factors when it comes to the health and well-being of seniors. An active social life and connection help stave off feelings of loneliness.

Some ideas to help seniors maintain a healthy level of connection with others include visits with family and loved ones as much as possible, peer interaction through senior centers and organizations, group activities such as classes and therapy or counseling for grief and getting through life changes.

For seniors who continue to live at home alone, regular visits from a caregiver also create an important sense of connection in addition to helping with daily tasks.

Continued Education For Seniors

Learning is a lifelong process. Evidence shows that the brain never stops changing and new connections are made through activities like reading, listening to lectures, solving puzzles and problems and through audio and visual stimuli such as art and music. Tactile experiences are also important, so classes in pottery, sculpture, painting, etc. are also beneficial.

Taking a college course in a subject that the senior has always been interested in is also a good way to not only energize the mind, but also provides that valuable social interaction.

Holistic Healing

Meditation, yoga, massage and acupressure are examples of holistic healing and activities that have a positive impact on a senior’s well-being. 

Diet And Exercise

These two are important at any age, and the senior years are no exception. The quality of foods and supplements consumed have a direct impact on not just physical health, but mental health as well. Eating lots of fresh, green vegetables, fruits, lots of quality protein, healthy fats and whole grains reduce inflammation, increase energy levels, and improve digestive health. 

Unfortunately, diet tends to decline in later years. This is often due to living alone, reduced mobility, lack of transportation and lack of motivation. For example, widows and widowers may not feel motivated to cook healthy meals now that they are alone. For seniors who no longer drive, getting to the grocery store is more of a challenge. They may be less inclined to shop for fresh foods if they aren’t sure when their next shopping trip will be.

Again, this is where caregiving services come in handy. Having a helper who is able to help a senior make a list and go shopping as well as plan and cook meals makes a big difference in diet.

Seniors who exercise stay mobile and independent longer, struggle less with depression and maintain better energy levels than those who don’t. It’s important to work with health care professionals when creating an exercise plan. Vigorous exercise should be done in a supportive setting to avoid injury. Group classes and one-on-one personal training are advised.

Social interaction, learning, healthy diet and exercise are all ways to ensure that seniors enjoy a healthy, quality life.

 To learn more about how a caregiver can enhance the quality of life for a senior you love, contact ActiveCare Homecare today.

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