As we age, it is common for us to develop problems with our memory and experience a decline in our cognitive abilities. The problem is more common than we may assume. According to a study conducted by the CDC of people aged 55 or more, as many as 20% of people experience some kind of mental health issue, with the most common being depression, severe cognitive impairment, and anxiety. These issues can also have an impact on the physical well-being and social functioning of seniors. They can also complicate the treatment of other ailments in seniors. Some effective methods of treating mental health in seniors:
Play Mental Games
Just as you need to exercise to take care of your physical health, you need to stimulate your brain so that it remains sharp and you do not experience any cognitive decline as you age. According to experts, playing brain games can help you to sharpen your thinking skills like processing information and planning, reacting, decision-making, and short-term memory. Additionally, activities like reading and writing can reduce stress, enhance memory, and make you sleep better. Learning a new language can build confidence and help you socialize with new people while playing a musical instrument can stimulate the brain and enhance memory power, which is especially helpful in people afflicted with Alzheimer’s and dementia, observes Michael Osland.
There are obvious physical advantages of exercising in any form like walking, gardening, dancing, yoga, etc. You should also understand that exercising benefits the mind too as it improves mood and boosts confidence. Even though seniors may find that they are slowing down with advancing age, they need to continue with some kind of exercise to stay active. It will not only keep them physically fit but also mentally agile and well. Experts recommend low-impact exercises like strength training and stretching to not only reduce the risk of joint pain, bone fractures, etc. common with the elderly but also manage stress, depression, and anxiety.
Stay Socially Connected, Advises Michael Osland
When you are getting on in age, it can often become more difficult to maintain close relationships with people you get on with well. However, in an age where the internet is all-pervasive, you should make an attempt to stay in touch with family and friends over email, phone calls, messaging services, video conferencing, and social media. It will help you to keep in touch with the people who are important to you but with whom you cannot meet in person as often as you like. When you lose touch with people, it is easy to feel isolated and lonely and start feeling depressed. It can, in turn, affect your mental and physical health. If you are not familiar with using technology, you can ask a family member to show you the ropes.
While the best way of keeping mentally active is to mingle with friends, sometimes, physical limitations may be difficult to overcome. Picking up a new hobby, keeping a pet, or getting involved in supporting a good cause can be excellent ways of staying mentally focused and agile.