Senior mental health can easily go unnoticed, which can be extremely harmful to them. This is why it's so important to check in on the seniors you know, either as a family member or a caregiver. There are so many aspects that can affect the development of different mental health issues in the elderly receiving home care.
As you get older, you're more likely to become lonely and feel isolated from society, especially if you have a medical condition that keeps you inside your home with little to no contact other than your caregiver.
You may also not be able to go through emotional resilience like you should when you lose a friend or a spouse. Along with these, physical problems can occur as you get older, requiring you to take medication to keep your body working properly. Medication can have certain side effects that can cause mental health issues to increase.
Some of the most common mental health issues the elderly face are depression (including bipolar depression), anxiety, and cognitive impairment, all of which can affect their physical health.
Checking in with your grandparents or the seniors you care for regularly can ensure you can get them the care they need as soon as possible.
If the senior in your life has limited mobility and can’t easily visit a clinic, then concierge primary care in Seattle can bring appointments to them.
Here are some of the ways you can help senior citizens improve their mental health, whether you are a family member or a caregiver:
Incorporate Daily Activities Into Their Schedule
Keeping seniors on their toes physically (and mentally) can make them feel a lot better. This can help them with their cognitive improvement. These games allow them to keep their minds engaged while also having fun!
Seniors don't want to feel like they're back in school. They want to have fun, so having these learning games can make them feel like they aren't even learning.
Here are some great activities you can plan to do with your grandparents or the seniors you care for:
- Learn a New Language:
Learning a new language can be a huge exercise for the brain. If you have a group of senior citizens in the residential community you work in, helping them learn a new language can be fun for them. They can even have a lot of fun speaking with each other outside of the classroom to continue practicing. If you are a family member, have a few other family members learn the language as well and have some laughs at the dinner table when everyone tries to converse with each other in this new language. Learning a new language can help boost their confidence, help them remember things easier, and make them feel better.
- Play an Instrument:
Music is universally known to make people happy. Any type of music can help senior citizens feel a lot better mentally, so you must encourage the elder you care for to play an instrument. You can either get them lessons at their house or the nursing home. If you know how to play the instrument already, you can teach them yourself.
- Reading and Writing:
Writing their feelings down can help them feel a lot better. As people get older, they tend to keep their feelings inside and not disclose the feelings of depression or anxiety they are having. Journaling is a great way to reduce stress and get all of their emotions out on paper. Even if they don't share what they wrote down, it can make them feel a lot better and show them what is really happening. They can also use this journaling time to reflect on what they did that day, helping them with their memory.
- Physical Fitness:
Getting seniors to move can improve their physical health and mental health. Doing daily yoga, dance, or exercise classes can boost their confidence and help them become more physically agile, so they can feel better when moving on their own. Staying active is always important to do as you go through life, especially when you are a senior citizen. Staying healthy is a great way to reduce other problems that could occur as you get older. They can get their stress out with these physical activities and have fun doing them.
- Help Them Stay Social:
If you know a senior citizen who has recently lost a friend or spouse, help them stay social with their other friends or family members. Giving them this social time can increase their serotonin even in a hard time like this. Nowadays, it's even easier to stay in touch with one another! We have social media and Zoom and FaceTime, so we can see our loved ones even if we are states apart.
- Play Games or Do a Puzzle:
No matter what age someone is, who can resist a puzzle? As soon as you start putting the pieces together, all you want to do is finish it! Puzzles are a great way to get seniors' brains working like they used to and can be fun as well. This can be a great activity to improve their cognition.
- Adopt a Pet:
Depending on their situation and whether or not their place of residence allows them to have pets, helping them adopt a pet can improve their mental health. Who doesn't get happy when greeted by a cute pet? There are so many ways your elderly loved one can improve their mental health by having a newfound love for an animal. They will be able to take care of them. In doing so, they can increase their fitness, lower their anxiety, and increase their happiness. They won't feel as lonely when they have a pet by their side.
Read next: 55 UPLIFTING THINGS TO DO WHEN BORED
Any of these are great ways you can help your elderly loved ones, whether you are a family member or a caregiver.
It's hard to tell when seniors aren't doing well mentally, so it's really important to check in with them regularly. They will feel loved and cared for, and they might even open up to you and tell you how they're feeling. Either way, these are great ways to improve senior mental health.
Sylvia Silverstone is a passionate writer who loves to share her knowledge and expertise on a wide range of topics, including beauty, life hacks, entertainment, health, news, and money. With a keen eye for detail and a talent for storytelling, Sylvia's engaging writing style keeps readers coming back for more.