There are many elements that can affect mental health while aging, such as your family health history, social isolation or loneliness, severe stress, and more. Many seniors eventually notice a change in the way they think as they age. It may be something as simple as occasionally misplacing their keys or a little more complicated, like forgetting certain memories. Fortunately, mental health and memory care have become a top priority for many people, especially in the past couple of years. There are many things seniors can do to protect their mental health while aging to help them live a longer, happier, and healthier life.
Engaging in mentally stimulating activities while aging can help seniors remain cognitively sharp. Simple stimulating activities might include brain teasers, cards, or reading, which can be enjoyable while also working to keep the mind active. However, getting out of one’s comfort zone and learning a new skill has been proven to reduce or delay cognitive changes that are related to aging.
As seniors age they should consider joining classes to learn a skill that has always been on their bucket list, like learning a new language, playing the piano, or using more complex technology. This will allow them to challenge themselves and their minds, which can lead to an overall healthier mental state.
On top of all that, joining classes or trying something new can open seniors up to a completely new group of people with the same interests. It has been proven that making new friends and spending time with people more often may have a positive effect on mental health. Good conversation and new information stimulates the brain as well.
Protect Your Eyes
As seniors get older it’s more common for their vision to decline slightly. Most people are at greater risk of developing common age-related vision changes, like presbyopia or cataracts. Vision decline can lead to a poor state of mental health for two main reasons. One, people experiencing impaired vision can become depressed about aging as they notice these types of changes in their body. Two, it can impair day-to-day routines and leisure time. Some visual impairments are likely to affect mobility and access to social contacts, which can lead to social isolation, disengagement, loneliness, and loss of social support.
Therefore, if you or a loved one are experiencing visual changes while aging you should consult an eye doctor about buying new prescription eyeglasses. The right prescription glasses can help you see more clearly if you have been diagnosed with age-related vision changes, or even more common refractive errors, like near-sightedness, far-sightedness, or astigmatism. Having one’s vision and eyeglasses prescription assessed at the first sign of change can decrease their chances of experiencing anxiety or depression and social isolation due to vision change while aging. It’s important to proactively manage this type of physical aging to not only improve daily quality of life, but show that even small adjustments can keep seniors engaged so they can take advantage of their later years in life.
Exercise and Eat Healthily
Regular exercise can make seniors feel happier and more energized as it can improve mood and decrease feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress. This is because exercise allows the body to produce higher levels of serotonin. This chemical is the key hormone that stabilizes mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness, and endorphins, the chemicals produced by the body to relieve stress and pain.
Even more importantly, when it comes to mental health, exercise has been known to benefit brain health and memory because it increases heart rate, promoting the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain.
Therefore, regular exercise is important for seniors as aging can change the structure and function of the brain. But exercise can counteract those changes by producing increased levels of positive hormones, chemicals, blood flow, and oxygen, which greatly benefit the brain and other nerves within the body. Exercise has been shown to help reduce the changes in the brain that cause Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia as well.
There are many factors that can affect mental health while aging. However, making yourself or your loved one aware of them now can help you be more prepared in the future. You or your loved one might even benefit from joining a specific memory care center. We have multiple Exceptional Living Centers that specialize in memory care. Our team of professionals will treat your family like their own. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. We’ll be happy to assist you in any way possible!