Blog5 ways seniors can improve mental health

5 ways seniors can improve mental health

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From birth through senior years, you are given recommendations for optimal physical health and well-being at various stages. For example, you are encouraged to take care of your heart by eating well and engaging in regular cardio exercise. Likewise, to prevent your bones from becoming brittle, you are urged to include weight-bearing exercise in your daily routine. Yoga can be practiced to increase blood flow and flexibility, and the list goes on.

While all of those recommendations are pivotal as you age, it is equally important for you to take the appropriate steps to ensure that your mental health is intact. There are many ways you can boost mental well-being with minimal effort. The key is to be mindful that your brain needs continuous stimulation to remain sharp, alert, and healthy.

Here are five activities you can implement daily to improve your mental health.

Get Moving

The mind and body are directly connected. Naturally, being in good shape physically also increases the chances of being mentally healthy. Try these ideas:

  • Engage in some form of moderate exercise for at least 10 minutes each day. Walking is an excellent form of exercise that moves your entire body.
  • Take time to get outside and enjoy nature. The sights and sounds of nature coupled with fresh air can be a tremendous benefit to your overall health.
  • Try seated fitness. If you are not comfortable standing to do exercises, try seated exercises like leg lifts or use exercise bands to increase flexibility and strengthen muscles.

Eat Your Greens

Eating well-balanced meals offer both physical and mental benefits. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and healthy fats helps your body function properly and decreases your risk of illness from chronic diseases. Healthy foods have also been proven to increase mental clarity, and studies have shown a link between eating healthy and a decrease in depression and factors that affect dementia.

Call Your Family and Friends

Maintaining close relationships increases levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a hormone that is released when you experience feelings of happiness. Increased serotonin levels have been shown to improve mood and feelings of happiness and can positively affect eating, sleeping, and digestion. Low levels of serotonin, on the other hand, have been directly linked to depression. So, keep a list of phone numbers for all of your closest family and friends and check in with them often to invoke all of the feelings of love and happiness those special relationships offer.

Play Games

As a child, you may have been told that playing too often would cause you to miss out on more important things in life. Now that you’ve mastered all of those “important things,” it’s essential to make time to play! Not only are games and leisure activities fun, but they are also mood-boosting, reduce stress, and increase mental sharpness, short and long-term memory, and clarity. Here’s a list of games and activities that are both fun and beneficial:

  • Card games
  • Memory games
  • Learning a new language
  • Puzzles
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Playing an instrument

Get Some Sleep

A good night’s rest is often severely underestimated. Seven to nine hours of sleep per night is typically required for the average healthy, older adult to awake feeling refreshed. Aside from feeling well-rested, getting a proper amount of sleep every night also allows your body to repair damaged cells, helps improve concentration and memory, and reinvigorates your immune system, which helps prevent disease. People who get sufficient rest are often more alert, happy, and enjoy an overall increase in mental well-being.

Try these tips for a better night’s sleep:

  • Go to sleep at the same time each night, and get up at the same time each morning, even on the weekends.
  • Limit naps to no longer than 20 minutes.
  • Turn off the TV, cellphones, and tablets at least an hour before bedtime.
  • Get regular exercise, but not within 2-3 hours of bedtime.
  • Don’t eat a heavy meal before bedtime.
  • Make your bedroom comfortable, dark, quiet, and not too warm or cold.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol late in the day.

Homecare Services at Emerest

At Emerest, we pride ourselves on prioritizing both the physical and mental well-being of our patients. Our Remote Patient Monitoring program allows us to monitor your vitals in the comfort of your own home to make sure you are healthy. We also provide access to a social worker if you are feeling down. Contact us today to learn more about our programs and senior-focused services.