Monday, September 09, 2019

The Importance of Maintaining Good Mental Health in Seniors

Growing old isn’t always an easy process, and some individuals who suffer from mental health issues can experience dark periods of loneliness, depression, anxiety, and more.

The Canadian Mental Health Association has estimated that the prevalence of mental health issues in people over the age of 65 years in Canada ranges from 17 to 35 percent. Mental health issues are not a common factor in aging, but they are quite common and can be extremely detrimental to a person’s wellbeing.

As we age our bodies start to wear down and we develop mobility issues such as arthritis. There is more risk for developing chronic diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and other types of dementia as we age. Coming to terms with the reality of growing old is incredibly challenging. It’s easy to isolate and to shut the world out.

It’s very important that friends and family members demonstrate support in every way possible. Consider Integracare home health services — a Senior health care service that provides in-home nursing care and personal support.

With in-home care, your loved one will never be alone and you won’t have to worry about monitoring medication or whether or not they’re staying safe and being looked after. With a compassionate Personal Support Worker (PSW) who prioritizes interaction and engagement, Seniors are encouraged to communicate, utilize cognitive thinking, and to break away from their own thoughts for a little while.

Staying connected and mentally alert is crucial for seniors battling depression or anxiety. Keep your loved one engaged and improve their mental health with these tips.

Get Physical

There is nothing quite like physical exercise to elevate a person’s mood. Not only does keeping active increase endorphins, but regular exercise will also keep your loved one feeling fit, healthy, and steady.

Gentle exercise routines such as chair yoga, light walks around the house or, if possible, around the block, and other stretching and cardio workouts create stronger muscles and bones. They will also help to prevent accidents and falls by increasing stability.

Play Mind Games

Regardless of age, our brains need constant stimulation to stay strong and healthy. However, Seniors require a little extra brain activity to maximize communication and engagement with others.

Solving problems keeps the mind active. Some common activities to increase brain health include:
  • Learning a new language
  • Playing card games and solving puzzles
  • Taking up a new instrument such as the keyboard or recorder
  • Reading and keeping a journal
Start a New Hobby

Encouraging your loved one to begin a new hobby is an excellent way to keep them engaged and to maximize brain health.

It’s important to keep a routine as people age. Perhaps your loved one has had a dream to start a garden but never had the time when he or she was working full-time. Or maybe they would like to continue an art project they started years ago.

The feeling of completing something boosts confidence and self-awareness. Working on a project for a few minutes or a couple of hours each day encourages brain stimulation and a sense of fulfillment.

Maintaining good mental health is essential to your loved one’s overall wellbeing. If you’re still finding that your friend or family member is not getting any better, even with these tips, be sure to inform their doctor and health team.

This is a guest blog entry.

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