For older adults, a variety of issues, such as loss of vision, social isolation, mobility problems and memory issues can make enjoying life more difficult.
The Laconia Daily Sun’s recent article entitled “Elderly home care and depression: Symptoms and prevention tips” asks, why is it important for seniors to focus on mental health?
Research shows that socially isolated seniors have a 59% greater risk of mental and physical decline than those who don’t experience social isolation, according to Forbes. The health effects of social isolation and loneliness on seniors is the same as smoking 15 cigarettes per day, says AARP.org. Finally, depression in the elderly is associated with an increased risk of cardiac diseases and risk of death from illness, according to a report at WebMD.
The signs of depression in seniors can include changes in attitude, self-isolation, weight loss, fatigue or lack of interest in once-enjoyable activities. For seniors who want to improve their quality of life through enhanced mental health, there are a few things they can do to start some healthy habits:
- Seniors should always talk to a doctor before beginning a physical activity or fitness program. Seniors that are able, and approved, to exercise may benefit from increased physical and mental wellness. Exercise has been shown to have a positive effect on the brain.
- At all ages, people find joy in spending time with family and friends. Social isolation can be an issue for the elderly that have mobility issues or aren’t able to drive, or who have loved ones that live far away. There are programs that can assist in addressing these issues, including transportation help, in-home care assistance and technology that fosters connection.
- It’s great to share time and talents doing volunteer work. This can bring a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Many organizations have programs and volunteer opportunities that are specifically tailored for older adults.
- Spending time doing fun activities. We all have different interests or hobbies that bring us joy. It may be music, art, dance, gardening or games. Seniors should spend time doing something that brings them happiness on a daily basis to improve their quality of life.
Reference: The Laconia Daily Sun (Sep. 23, 2020) “Elderly home care and depression: Symptoms and prevention tips”