When our aging loved one is experiencing memory problems, mood swings, anxiety, loss and loneliness, it can significantly impact their mental health and quality of life.
According to a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study of mental health in older adults aged 55+, it is estimated that 20% of seniors experience some type of mental health concern. The most common conditions include anxiety, severe cognitive impairment and mood disorders, such as depression or bipolar depression.
The good news is that senior mental health can be a treatable condition. Proper clinical intervention, medication management and therapy, combined with brain stimulating activities and social experiences can help prevent mental health issues in seniors. According to the CDC, social support is associated with reduced risk of mental illness, physical illness and even mortality.
Brain Health Matters
According to Harvard Health Publishing, games can help sharpen certain thinking skills such as processing speed, planning skills, reaction time, decision making and short-term memory. Some fun activities that support brain health include: reading and journaling; learning a new language; playing an instrument; playing puzzles and games; and ballroom dancing.
Moving And Stretching The Body
Staying active and getting enough exercise are important for seniors’ mental health. Going on regular walks, attending Tai Chi and yoga classes, and strength building exercises benefit both the mind and the body. Regular physical activity also helps boost confidence, lifts the spirits and reduces the risk of falls. Even better, exercise can help manage stress, anxiety and depression too.
Friends Can Be A Lifeline
We’ve all learned that during this pandemic time and distance can make it difficult for people to maintain close relationships and it can be especially hard on our elderly family and friends.
Did you know older adults who keep in touch with the important people in their lives are less likely to get depression, mental illness and physical decline?
Helping seniors learn how to connect with friends on electronic devices can really brighten up their day. Being able to access social media, through FaceTime, Zoom or WhatsApp are just some ways to stay in touch and keep updated on life’s events. Or stay connected the old-fashioned way by writing letters or set up a regularly schedule phone call works too.
Pick up a New Hobby
Hobbies help increase the neuroplasticity of the brain and strengthen neuronal pathways. As these new connections are established, this stimulation helps increase a sense of belonging and improving senior mental health. So learning a new language, taking a cooking classes or finding a hobby like woodworking or photography supports brain health.
Caring for a Pet
Animals can help keep seniors active, busy and offer companionship with their unconditional love. According to the CDC, many studies have shown that the bond between humans and their pets can increase fitness, lower stress and bring happiness.
Other health benefits of having a pet include decreasing blood pressure and feelings of loneliness.
If you don’t want to or are unable to own a pet, volunteering at an animal shelter is also a good way to connect with animals and help organizations in need.
At Sana Behavioral Health, our dedicated and compassionate medical staff supports our aging seniors with mind-healthy activities. We also have a secured outdoor courtyard to enjoy the fresh air and change of scenery.
Sana Behavioral Health is the preferred choice for mental health services in the geriatric community of Las Vegas for patients 45 years or older.