Mental health is incredibly important, and unfortunately, our senior loved ones are particularly vulnerable to mental health issues and struggles. Fortunately, talking about mental health and advocating for the mental health of your loved one isn’t nearly as taboo as it used to be. Many of us will face mental health challenges in our lives and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. In addition to seeking help from a mental health professional, there are things you can do now to support your loved one and help boost their mental health. Here’s what we recommend:
Being sedentary all day can negatively impact your senior loved one’s mental health. Exercise is known to boost endorphins, improving your mood and overall wellness. There are many options for all different abilities:
- A daily walk. This is a great way to spend some quality time with your loved one, and getting outside and breathing the fresh air will do everyone good.
- Exercise classes for seniors. If your loved one is physically able to join exercise classes, check out your local YMCA or see what kind of fitness classes their senior living community offers. Many communities have senior classes for aerobics, swimming, yoga, dance, and much more.
- Stretch. Even five minutes of stretching every day can do wonders.
Stay Connected with Friends
It’s normal to lose touch with friends as we go through life. We all get busy with our own lives and we aren’t as good about keeping up with the people we care about. Older adults have a tendency to become socially isolated, especially when they retire, and this can lead to feelings of depression and loneliness. Our friends and our community are vital parts of our lives, and maintaining strong relationships as we age is crucial.
For seniors who are struggling to stay connected, it may be beneficial to set weekly or monthly meetings with their close friend group. Perhaps everyone is able to gather at a local coffee shop, or perhaps catching up via Zoom can be an option if everyone lives in different places. Maintaining friendships becomes a lot easier if your loved one resides at an active senior living community that encourages plenty of social interaction. Communities like UMC offer many opportunities for residents to connect with one another through activities, clubs and events on-site.
Follow a Daily Routine
You’ve heard the expression that humans are creatures of habit – and it’s true. If you go to work every day then you understand the importance of a routine. But for seniors who reach retirement age, the shift from having a highly structured day to having a day with nothing to do can be jarring, and it can negatively impact their mental health.
Humans need a sense of purpose and we need things to look forward to, so encouraging your loved one to create a daily routine will be beneficial for their mental health. Even something as simple as waking up at the same time every morning and making coffee and breakfast will help them get in a positive state of mind for the day ahead.
If you have any questions about how to boost your loved one’s mental health, or if you have any questions about what community life is like at UMC, please contact our team today: https://umcommunities.org
This blog was originally published at https://umcommunities.org/blog/boost-mental-health/