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After a busy and fast-paced life, when the children have finally settled down and you are getting into the groove of retirement living, it’s a usual occurrence among seniors to feel isolated and alone. This is a normal reaction to the idea of growing old, and at least 1 to 5 percent of seniors who live independently will go through depression because of this.
Taking care of your mental health does not stop even after you have reached retirement age and no longer stress on work, business, or family related stuff. In fact, it is during the senior years when you are required to work double time in keeping the mind active. Those older adults who are not actively taking care of their mental health are at higher risks of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, requiring dedicated assistance from memory care facilities. Here are eight ways seniors can take care of their mental health.
1. Just keep moving.
Being physically active can benefit not only your physical health but also the brain and mental health. As you settle into your retirement, it’s time to get back into shape physically and be active again. If you are physically able, go for a regular jog or run, join a gym class, or go on a mountain hike and reach the peak of that mountain you have long dreamed of. If your physical attributes are limited, you can try chair exercises. Choose to stay active.
2. Focus on prevention.
Prevention is always better than cure. The good thing is that seniors have health care coverage for preventative measures in aging illnesses such as screenings for cholesterol levels, early cancer detection, heart and brain problems and more. Regular visits to the doctor, monitoring of blood pressure and blood sugar levels require less effort but can go a long way in your physical and mental health.
3. Stay involved in family gatherings.
One cause of feeling isolated and alone for seniors is seeing less of their kids, grandkids, and other family members. As the next generation settles into their routine and lives, time for family gatherings and reunions may become less and less. As a senior, you can take part in initiating these family gatherings, as it is also an effective way to let the younger generations realize the importance of keeping in touch and being involved with family. Host a family gathering, plan out and seek help from other family members to make it an enjoyable task.
4. Get information on medication management.
Be informed on medication management, medication cycles, its purposes and effects or side effects. Some medication may disrupt sleeping cycles, rest or eating patterns, thus it is important that you are well aware of the management of medications you intake. Some medications may have real-time side effects such as drowsiness or allergic reactions, so it is important that you know what to do next should these side effects occur.
5. Stay physically active.
Exercise has been proven to be an effective method against depression and falling into other mental health issues. Aside from this, exercise keeps the mind and body alert, maintains your energy, and produces hormones in the brain that takes care of memories. If you are physically able, you can seek your doctor’s advice and approval on the types of physical exercise you can regularly perform. A physically active body is a happy mind.
6. Make a deeper spiritual connection.
Spirituality can offer positivity for the mind and calmness of thoughts and body. Joining a spiritual community can bring you to meet new friends and acquaintances. It can give you meaningful activities that allow you to connect and analyze deep into your emotions, which allows you to process it effectively.
7. Socialize at your senior center or senior living facility.
Family gatherings and reunions may replenish your energy and happiness, but the daily routine may cause you remission into the feeling of isolation and depression. Socialize and be socially active. Connect with your fellow seniors and make friends at your senior center or senior living facility. Your fellow seniors can better understand your adjustment and can give you advise on how to smoothly adjust into the senior life. Be sociable and open to make new acquaintances. Some of the seniors you will meet also go through the same emotions as you, so be supportive of others.
8. Take advantage of free physicals.
As another preventive measure in physical and mental illnesses, take advantage of any free physicals that your senior center offers. Be it free check-up, vaccinations for influenza, pneumonia or other common diseases, and regular monitoring of vital signs, including blood pressure and sugar levels. These free physicals require less effort on your part but will allow you to monitor if you are in good shape.
Keeping a healthy mind and body is quite easy, as long as you diligently follow these simple techniques. Stay healthy. Stay sharp.