How to Boost Mental Health in Seniors
Growing older comes with many unique challenges. As our society has started paying more attention to mental health, and as we’ve grappled with the social and emotional impacts of the pandemic, it has shed more light on the fact that many seniors struggle with this. It’s normal to worry about our parents’ well-being and mental state as they age, so if you’re interested in boosting your loved one’s mental health, there are several approaches to take.
Seniors age experience many changes to their daily routine during this phase of their lives. Many older adults spent years going to work, socializing with colleagues, spending time with friends, and traveling. However, as they ease into retirement and beyond, they often find their days emptier, and along with that can come feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Coupled with the fact that we tend to gradually lose our mobility as we age, all of these changes can have a negative impact on a senior’s state of mind. Fortunately, our Life Enrichment Team Specialists (LETS) in NJ have compiled three concrete ways to boost your older loved one’s mental health.
Staying active is important for all of us, especially older adults. Did you know that tripping and falling is one of the biggest health risks for seniors? As we age, it’s normal to have difficulties with balance, coordination, and mobility, meaning seniors are at an increased risk of falling.
Being active comes in many forms, so it’s important to understand your loved one’s abilities and not to push them too hard. August is a great time of year to take daily walks early in the morning, do some light stretching, or check out what group fitness classes are available at the local gym. Many gyms have classes tailored to seniors, and it’s also a great way for your loved one to meet peers in their area.
Stay Connected With Friends
We all lead busy lives, which means we can very easily lose touch with our close circle of friends. Time, distance, family, jobs and other things tend to get in the way, and before you know it, it’s been six months since you’ve spoken with your closest friend! For those who are recently retired or for seniors with decades of retirement under their belt, pending more time around the house and losing touch with their social circle can cause feelings of loneliness and isolation, which can lead to depression.
However, let’s turn this negative into a positive. One benefit of being retired is that your loved one now has more time to invest in friendships, and technology makes it easier than ever to stay in touch. Whether it’s a weekly Zoom call with their close group of friends, emails to family members who live far away, or even a regularly-scheduled phone call, there are plenty of ways to stay connected with the important people in their life.
Follow A Daily Routine
We are all creatures of habit and thrive when a routine is in place. Transitioning from having structured days to the less structured world of retirement can take a toll on their mental stability. We recommend creating a daily routine for your senior loved one, including important things like medication reminders, and ensuring they’re eating well-rounded meals and going to sleep around the same time every day. Having a sense of structure helps put the mind at ease and mitigates feelings of aimlessness.
If you have any questions about how to boost your older loved one’s mental health by transitioning them to a thriving senior community in New Jersey, please visit our website at: https://umcommunities.org.