Cognitive decline, memory problems, and isolation issues are all problems that make aging adults vulnerable to mental health issues. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), a study of mental health in older adults ages 55 and older showed an estimated 20% of aging adults experience a form of mental health concern. The most common mental impairments include mood disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder, anxiety, or severe cognitive decline.
The CDC reports these conditions can cause impairments in physical health as well as mental health which can complicate the treatment of other disorders. It is usual for older adults to see mental health decline as they age, yet depression and anxiety are not regular parts of aging.
In addition to the possible clinical intervention in the form of prescribed medications or therapy, several resources and activities are available to help older adults feel engaged and in good mental health and spirits. Here are three tips to help aging adults boost their mental health.
Tip 1: Stay connected and engaged.
When you stay connected and maintain meaningful, strong social connections with family and friends, it helps tremendously with mental health. There are many church groups for aging adults or other community events you can attend. The CDC says social support is associated with reduced risk of mental illness, physical illness, and even mortality.
Tip 2: Play mind games.
The brain needs stimulation to stay sharp, just as the body needs physical activity to stay healthy. Keeping a sharp mind helps avoid cognitive decline as you age. An article in Harvard Health Publishing says, “Brain games can help sharpen certain thinking skills such as processing speed, planning skills, reaction time, decision-making, and short-term memory.” Some of the most accessible and common activities for aging adults include:
- Writing and reading
- Learning a new language
- Working a puzzle
- Playing Crossword or Sudoku brain games
- Learning to play an instrument
- Participating in trivia-style games- This could also be an outlet for making friends. Many restaurants now have trivia games, usually, once a week, where different trivia leagues compete against each other. You could join a league and make new friends while improving your cognitive health.
Tip 3: Exercise
Many forms of exercise could boost your confidence while strengthening your mental and physical health. You could choose to go on daily walks, do low-impact yoga, swim, or even take up ballroom dancing. Joining a gym or your local YMCA would be an excellent opportunity for you to check out the classes they offer and meet new people.
Not only does exercise have many physical benefits, but exercise also helps with managing stress, depression, and anxiety for aging adults.
At Next Day Access, we care about aging adults. Our mission is to make you feel safe, independent, and comfortable at home or on the go. We do this by offering several different products like wheelchair ramps, vehicle lifts, scooters, grab bars, and so much more. Contact us today and let us help improve your life.