From childhood on, the health of an individual is more or less tracked and/or monitored by parents, caregivers, grandparents, and, of course, physicians. Both the mental health and physical health of any individual should be monitored even more closely, however, as they age.
Decreased mobility, isolation, and other issues can have a definite effect on seniors’ mental health. To combat problems with mental health, there are a variety of techniques. Older adults can stay healthy longer with the proper level of awareness and care.
During your golden years – or those of a loved one – it’s important to stay mentally healthy. For the pursuit of that endeavor, here are some tips.
Establish a Good Patient/Doctor Relationship
The more comfortable a person feels with their physician, the more likely they will be to share information with them and bring a problem to their attention, should one arise.
If you have an aging loved one, make sure you establish a relationship with their physician, as well. This way, if you notice shifts in sleep habits, anxiety levels, and/or mood, you can bring it to their attention. Your loved one may not even be aware of it.
Always Be on the Lookout for Early Signs and Symptoms
What types of signs and symptoms do we refer to here? Anything that might point to a physical ailment, condition, illness, problem, etc.
If a person is having problems with memory, has deteriorating language skills, experiences frequent anxiety/lethargy, or has a desire to isolate, for example, it may be early signs of a form of dementia.
Engage in Games and Other Fun Pursuits
Something that challenges the brain, such as a crossword puzzle, is ideal. Other suggestions can include brain games that involve math, logic, words, and more.
Some crossword puzzles can be devised so they will trigger memory. As an example, here’s one question: In the movie Gone with the Wind, who played Scarlet O’Hara? This helps trigger memory cells that a person may not ordinarily use throughout the day. (The answer, by the way, is actress Vivian Leigh.)
As well as engaging your brain for mental exercise, you must engage the muscles of your body for physical health. Physical exercise – at whatever level is appropriate for the individual in question – is absolutely imperative.
What matters is getting your heart rate up. If you are incapable of extreme physical exercise, consider a “Sit and Be Fit” program or the easiest level of yoga (chair yoga).
Before embarking on a fitness plan, always check with your physician.
Some individuals have resorted to socializing on the Internet, so as to reduce their physical contact with others. Until it’s healthier to connect on a personal, physical basis, this is an acceptable level of socialization.
Whenever possible, older adults should make it a point to participate in social groups like book clubs, movie clubs, etc. Taking trips to the botanical gardens, museums, and more are the kinds of outings that can be enjoyed by more than one individual.
Celebratory events, if done in a socially distanced manner for the time being, are another chance to get together. Themed dances, parties, dinners, etc. are some examples.