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Improve Your Mental Health as You Age
Many envision post-retirement as a time filled with relaxation, happiness, and enjoyment of their favorite hobbies. On the contrary, seniors are at high risk of mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and mood disorders, commonly attributed to grief, social isolation, and loneliness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 20% of seniors experience some form of mental health concern. Learn how to improve your mental health as you age.
One essential part of improving your mental health is staying social. According to the National Institute on Aging, seniors who engage in social activities are happier, less depressed, and less likely to develop certain health problems, including dementia, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.
Social activities could include a multitude of things, but here are a few examples:
- Play cards or board games with friends or family.
- Join a book club.
- Video chat or call your family or friends.
- Take a cooking, art, dance, language, or computer class.
- Become more active in your community by volunteering to serve meals or organize clothing donations for people in need.
- Teach a favorite pastime or skill, such as embroidery, chess, baking, woodworking, calligraphy, or quilting, to a new generation.
Physical activity is vital to improving both your mental and physical health. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the benefits of regular physical activity include improved brain health and cognitive function, a reduced risk of anxiety and depression, and improved sleep and overall quality of life.
The CDC recommends that adults aged 65 and older need at least 150 minutes a week (for example, 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week) of moderate-intensity activity. Here are a few senior-friendly ways to ensure you’re staying active:
- Take a daily walk with a friend or loved one.
- Join a sports club for seniors, such as bowling.
- Take an exercise class.
- Garden or do yard work.
- Dance to your favorite music.
- Play with your grandchildren or a pet.
Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.
Manage Your Stress
Stress can be detrimental to your mental health, but unfortunately, it’s sometimes unavoidable. For seniors, stress result from health problems, separation from friends and family, financial concerns, and more. When you feel stressed, try these tips:
- Focus on your breathing.
- Meditate and practice mindfulness.
- Take a yoga class.
- Take a walk.
- Talk to a loved one.
- Listen to music.
- Take a bath or shower.
- Do something with your hands – such as washing a dish or doing a puzzle.
Try a New Hobby
Learning a new skill is great for your brain health! According to Psychreg, learning a new skill can improve memory, confidence, happiness, social connectivity, and overall mental well-being. Here are a few hobbies to try out:
- Learning a new language.
- Knitting or crocheting.
- Painting or drawing.
- Researching family trees and genealogy.
- Visiting local museums.
- Learning how to play an instrument.
Evaluate Your Medications
Some medications can cause mental health issues like anxiety or depression. If you’re experiencing any symptoms of these disorders, speak to your doctor. They may be able to reevaluate your medications and help you get back to feeling your best.
How Grand Oaks Can Help
At Grand Oaks Senior Living, we’re committed to providing whole-body care – for the mind, body, and soul – for our residents, helping them live their healthiest, happiest lives. Learn more about our unique care by contacting us today.