Cognitive decline and memory problems can make senior citizens particularly prone to mental health issues during old age. This is why most people choose to move to one of the assisted living and memory care facilities. The good news is, old age doesn’t necessarily have to be painful.
In addition to therapy and clinical intervention, several resources and activities can help older adults stay mentally engaged. It can keep them in good spirits and help them stay sharp.
Cultivating a New Hobby
There’s no time like retirement to dust off that ‘bucket list’ of yours and pursue life goals. Whether you’re into French cooking, painting, gardening, sewing, writing; it’s time to do it all. Engaging in new hobbies improves the neuroplasticity of the brain wherein new nerve cells and connections are formed; thus changing the very chemistry of the brain in a positive way.
By strengthening these neural connections and pathways, the person feels a stronger sense of mental control. It helps to improve cognition and overall brain health.
Staying Connected with Friends
Keeping in touch with important people and maintaining meaningful relationships is a fine way to fight off that increasing sense of isolation and loneliness that often leads to depression and mental decline.
In the digital era, it’s easier than ever to connect with people via apps like Skype, Zoom, Google Duo. You can even join a social organization wherein you can meet new people. Socializing gets a lot easier if you choose to move to an assisted living and memory care facility.
Stay Physically Active
Physical fitness via ballroom dancing, yoga classes, and aerobics can boost both physical and mental health. It can also reduce the risk of falls. Staying active is good no matter your age, but it gets particularly important as you enter old age.
Low-impact exercises like strength training are necessary for seniors to reduce the chances of age-related problems like joint pain, bone fractures, cognitive decline, and other chronic illnesses.
Regular exercising can also manage anxiety, stress, and depression in seniors. Pet ownership in senior years is also associated with a more active lifestyle. Senior dog owners get to spend more time outside as taking care of a dog means regular walks. Selecting a dog breed that is suitable for seniors is a good idea when deciding to get a pet.
Volunteer in a Community
Volunteering is a highly rewarding way to utilize your free time during retirement and give back to the community. It comes with a myriad of physical, mental, and emotional health benefits. Perhaps you like spending time with children or young students. You could volunteer in a school. You could also make yourself useful in a hospital.
Local soup kitchens and food pantries are always in need of extra helping hands. Volunteering is a great way to remain socially active, engaged, find new people, and become a valuable part of a diverse and vibrant community.
Playing Brain Games/Activities
Just as the physical body needs stimulation and activity to stay fit and healthy; the same way the brain needs stimulation for cognitive health and for staying sharp. To that end, here are a few great common and easily accessible brain activities:
- Reading/Writing: Many studies show that reading can improve memory functioning, promote sleep quality, and manage stress. Journaling is an excellent way to alleviate the effects of anxiety and stress as well.
- Playing games & Puzzles: Games and puzzles are not only highly enjoyable, but they are a surefire way to slow down the pace of memory decline. They are a fun way in which to boost your mental health and brainpower.
- Learn a New Language: When you learn a new language, you develop certain regions of the brain which are affected by aging. In this way, learning a new language can improve your brain health and also build confidence. It’s a great way to socialize with others who already know the language or are also learning it.
Old age can be tough. But, if you prepare yourself ahead of it, you can surely slow down the pace of it. If you follow these tips, you can reduce the amount of toll aging takes on your mental health.