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5 Essential Tips to Help Improve Senior Mental Health

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As we age, all aspects of health and wellness should be high up on our priority list. While many think of the obvious, such as heart health and getting enough exercise, one item tends to fall to the wayside: mental health.

Across the country, mental health is being brought to the forefront for people of all ages. In fact, around 7 million senior Americans have some sort of mental health illness such as anxiety and depression. That statistic means that it is highly likely that you or your senior loved one could be prone to such an illness.

That being said, whether you or your loved one lives in the senior apartments in Clinton Township or you still reside at home or live with family, it is time to make mental health a priority. We have compiled these five effective tips that could help.

1.) Find Healthy Coping Mechanisms for Stress

If there is one culprit behind mental illness, it’s stress. While stress might not be a mental illness in and of itself, it can certainly play a big role in becoming anxious or depressed. When we become overwhelmed with the stress and expectations put on us, this weighs us down and compromises our ability to lead happy, healthy lives. 

One problem with seniors and stress is that if they are retired, people may brush off the stress that seniors say that they are feeling. They could even ask questions such as, “but you’re retired! What do you have to stress about?” This is a very toxic approach. Just because someone is no longer in the workforce does not mean that they don’t have concerns or stress going on. 

The most important thing one can do is find some coping mechanisms that help. Here are a few examples:

  • Various Techniques:

Figure out which stress management techniques work best for you. This looks different for everyone, so don’t worry too much about yours being unique. Walking, coloring, doing crafts, talking with a friend – there is no wrong answer!

  • Counteract Negative Thoughts:

It can be easy to let that negative voice in our head get carried away. Dispute these thoughts and do your best to shake them off! 

  • Let It Go:

No, this isn’t just your grand kid’s favorite song to sing – there is wisdom in those words. Let things go that don’t matter and move on!

2.) Practice Self Care

It is easy to show others respect, love, and kindness. Ourselves? Not so much. It is high time to fix that, however! Self love is important, especially for seniors. While for many folks, self care has been branded to look like expensive shopping trips or visits to the hair or nail salon, that’s not all it’s about. It also means the everyday stuff, too.

Drink plenty of water, eat healthy foods, get out and exercise, enjoy the hobbies and activities you love – the list goes on and on. Here at our senior apartments in Clinton Township, we know that these all play a factor in self care. Check out the various amenities that we offer our residents by visiting our website!

3.) Create a Social Circle

Senior isolation is a huge concern. Not only is it dangerous in the physical sense, such as if a medical episode occurred, but it’s also a huge determent to mental health as well. Seniors who isolate are more prone to issues such as anxiety, depression, and yes, even suicidal thoughts. This is extremely scary to think about! 

COVID has certainly impacted the way we can interact with the world around us. Thankfully, however, advances in technology allow us to stay connected while still keeping us safe. While many restrictions have been lifted and we can socialize in person, don’t be afraid to continue to utilize tools such as video chat and phone calls to stay in touch. Regardless of what spending quality time with a loved one looks like for you, just make sure you do it often to bolster your mental well being!

Also, don’t forget to make friends with the other residents at The Parkdale! That is one of the best parts about living in such a thriving and active senior community.

cropped view of senior woman holding hands with retired husband

4.) Take a Breather

The world is fast-paced: there’s no doubt about it. Life can come at us quickly, which certainly adds to the stress of our lives. That is why it is all the more important to remember to take a breather. Even extroverted people who thrive in various social settings often need to have a moment to rest and reset in the quiet.

When you separate yourself from the noise and distractions, you are better able to clear your mind and recenter. Many people use this quiet time for yoga, meditation, or simply spending time doing something like reading, sewing, or even doing a puzzle. Whatever this looks like for you, make sure to do it on a regular basis. Separating yourself from the stress and anxiety is the quickest way to put it in perspective, allowing you to weed out what is necessary and what isn’t. 

5.) Talk It Out

For many people, talking things out really helps to process information. It might seem scary, especially if you’re worried about how others might react. Odds are good that you will be surprised – your loved ones really want to hear about everything going on, the good and the bad. So if you are struggling with your mental health, be it depression, anxiety, isolation, or anything else, talk with a trusted family member or friend.

If you would rather talk to a professional, that’s okay! There are many licensed therapists and counselors available in your area who are available to help. If you need some assistance in scheduling an appointment, just talk to one of our staff members and they can get you helped out. 

Wrap Up

Mental health can affect anyone and everyone! Issues such as depression and anxiety don’t discriminate between demographics such as sex, gender, race, or age. If you are a senior, or you have a senior loved one who struggles with mental health, now is the time to get a helping hand. You wouldn’t leave a broken leg untreated, and neither should you forgo mental health treatment as well.

Written by The Parkdale

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