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5 simple ways to improve Mental Health for Seniors

Posted on January 16, 2017 with 0 comments

According to the American Physiological Association, 20% of Americans above the age of 55 suffer from some form of poor mental health, making them highly susceptible to suicide or other activities which could bring about physical harm.
Given their circumstances, it becomes necessary for caregivers to promote activities that utilize the brain and in turn boost mental health.

Here are 5 simple ways Caregivers can help seniors in salvaging and enhancing their mental health.

1) Exercise

Everyone can benefit from regular exercise but seniors specifically can get a lot of benefits out of regular exercise. Many seniors complain about stress and depression from this new phase in their lives but exercising regularly helps in suppressing the feelings of depression while improving cognitive function (which is very important for Senior people because most of them suffer from deteriorating
cognitive abilities).

Seniors are often diagnosed with diseases like Alzheimer’s which results in declining brain cells and poor cognitive abilities. Exercise can’t cure Alzheimer’s but it can help seniors put up a fight as it increases the levels of those chemicals in the brain that counter degeneration.

Exercising releases endorphins (the happy hormone) which helps enhance mood by creating feelings of happiness and elation. Doctors have found that exercise has really helped people who’re suffering from depression and recommend that people at least spend an hour in the gym daily.

2) Socialize

Psychology Today reports that interacting with friends and family on a more social level can enhance mental health and actually stand to reduce risks of developing dementia.

Having a strong social network is beneficial at any time in life, but having a reliable support system in the later years of your life provides aged people with a sense of belonging. Having a social support system consisting of people around the same age, who can understand each other, is highly comforting. Studies have found that social interactions at a later age can boost your immune system, therefore elders are in a better position to fight illness if they socialize. But if your elderly are not able to go out of the house due to old age, illness or discomfort, you can arrange home care services for them so that a person is with them all the time to provide much needed support, care and a heightened sense of bonding.

Research shows that socializing enhances brain health. People who socialize have improved memory and cognitive skills. In the long-run, elders who frequently interact with others have lower chances of developing diseases that affect the brain like Dementia.
Caregivers are encouraged to find ways to help their patients in interacting with others, such as telling them to join a Seniors Club or arranging videos calls with family members who live far away.

Studies reveal that seniors who’re living independently have better mental health compared to those that are dependent.

3) Learn to use technology

Seniors fear technology when they really shouldn’t have to, since more and more senior-specific technology is being introduced in the market. Reducing the angst surrounding technology, such a crucial element of the world, is highly important because Seniors shouldn’t feel isolated and that they can’t be a part of the current environment that prevails in the world.
Caregivers should endorse the use of different technology when looking after Senior people. They should make an effort to introduce them to Apps and devices that are made to help and entertain seniors in their daily lives.

4) Learn something new

Learning something new can leave you with a heightened sense of accomplishment after you master it. It also acts as an exercise and a motivational boost for your brain.

Senior adults are encouraged to challenge their brains and learning something new serves the purpose skillfully. It specifically helps augment long-term memory and cognitive skills amongst senior adults.

Going back to school or picking up short courses helps the brain stay stimulated and make possible stronger neural connections which stands to improve memory.

Playing games also aids in energizing the brain so seniors should be encouraged to play games like Scrabble, cards and Monopoly that require the brain to remain lucid and access its memory bank.

5) Meditation

Many are skeptical of the benefits that ensue from mediation but those who meditate regularly will stand by its benefits that include increasing mindfulness, revitalizing the mind, body and soul and helping in developing better capabilities of managing stress. By focusing inwards, mediation calms the mind and body using breathing techniques and seeks to heighten awareness of your surroundings.
Mindfulness and meditation battle anxiety and depression so seniors who’re looking to be more in control of their thoughts can begin meditating in the comfort of their homes. It would be even greater if senior home care services could be arranged for the elderly to allow someone else, who has professional experience, help him/her in all of the aforementioned activities.

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