Staying sharp as we grow older is important, but what about your emotional health? Mental health issues aren’t uncommon among seniors. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that approximately 6.5 million seniors struggle with depression. There are a number of reasons that seniors may struggle with their mental health, including a loss of loved ones, reduced independence, declining physical health, and cognitive decline. Maintaining a healthy outlook is just as critical as maintaining a healthy lifestyle when it comes to the happiness of seniors (and their caregivers), so here are our tips for better emotional health.
- Get Moving. Exercise has long been connected with better mental health, so it’s important for seniors to include activity in their daily routine. Whether you enjoy participating in a sport, hitting the gym, or simply strolling around the park, regular exercise can increase your mental wellbeing. If you’re not sure where to start, our physical therapists can help design a custom workout routine that’s perfect for your needs.
- Stay Social. Isolation is a common factor in many mental illnesses, and it also is common for many seniors. Try to connect with others regularly. You can attend social groups and game nights, take a class at the local community college, visit with friends or family, or even run errands or go to appointments with someone you’re close to.
- Give technology a try. It can be intimidating to learn something new, but the challenge of mastering video calls with your grandchildren or logging into Facebook to see your friends’ vacation photos can help you stay sharp—and keep you connected. You may even be able to find senior-oriented technology classes in your area.
- Hit the books or head back to school. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or you want to learn more about astronomy, there are dozens of great resources available to help you learn something new. Community college courses are a great way to see others and try a new skill or study something you love, but that doesn’t mean a trip to the library or an online bookstore isn’t a great resource as well. You may even choose to take an online course, especially if you struggle to get out of the house.
- Adopt a furry friend. Our pets are often considered family members, and it’s easy to see why. Cats, dogs, birds, and even lizards, rabbits, and other unusual pets can provide much-needed social interaction. Caring for pets can also give a senior something to do and prevent feelings of uselessness. Many research studies show that pet owners enjoy emotional benefits from time spent with pets.
- Play games. Start a bridge club, break out the crossword puzzle in the morning paper, or maybe give video games a try. Games and puzzles of all kinds can mentally stimulate seniors and keep them sharp, as well as provide the opportunity for socialization.
- Volunteer. Do you have extra time on your hands as a senior? Give back to your community through volunteering. You can find far-flung volunteering opportunities through the United Nations Volunteers program, or you can volunteer to help from the comfort of your own home. Many organizations also love receiving donations, such as baby blankets and hats or home-made beds for shelter pets, so you can put your crafty side to use.
As our loved ones grow older, we want what’s best for them. Making choices to support their needs and desires is difficult, but it’s important to protect the wellbeing of your aging loved one. At King Street Rehab, we offer long-term care and short-term care solutions, respite care, physical therapy and occupational therapy, and other services to help your senior live their best life.
Our compassionate team of rehabilitation experts are ready to provide the personalized care your loved one deserves, answer all your questions, and support your family. Our luxurious Fairfield County rehab facility is equipped with everything we need to ensure that your loved one is safe, healthy, and, most importantly, happy. Schedule a tour of our facilities to learn more about our services and how we can assist your family today.
Contact our offices online, or by calling (914) 600-7149 now.