Aging is an inevitable part of life. As you age, you experience many drastic changes in your life, like retirement or losing loved ones. Similarly, health issues are also a normal part of aging. And, all these changes can have a negative impact on your mental health.
According to the CDC, 20% of people aged 55 and above suffer from some type of mental illness. The most common mental illnesses among seniors include loneliness, anxiety disorders, depression, and dementia. While some mental health issues, like forgetfulness, might be inevitable as you age, there are some issues you can avoid.
Overall, keeping your mental health in check is essential as you age. So, if you feel like your mental health is depreciating and affecting your quality of life, it is time to take some necessary steps. Here are some tips to help you stay mentally healthy and happy as you age.
- Don’t skip your doctor’s appointments
As mentioned before, experiencing some health issues as you age is normal. Similarly, as you age, you are more prone to developing age-related mental health issues such as dementia. So, getting regular checkups can help identify and treat any issues before they get worse.
Moreover, these checkups can detect physical health issues that may not be evident without a diagnosis. One of these is mesothelioma, found mostly in men aged 65 or above. This is cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, and since the symptoms don’t usually appear until after decades, it can be quite hard to detect without a proper diagnosis. However, getting a positive diagnosis can be hard to handle emotionally. Moreover, the financial stress can be even worse for your mental health.
Fortunately, victims can hire a reliable attorney for mesothelioma settlements in or out of court with the organization responsible for this negligence. This can compensate for the financial stress caused by the treatments for the disease and provide financial support for the victims as well.
However, as mentioned before, regular checkups can help identify and treat problems before they worsen. This allows you to deal with the problem accordingly and manage or reduce any stress it may cause if detected later.
- Stay active
No doubt, staying active and exercising regularly is great for your physical health. Regular exercise can help reduce the chances of developing chronic illnesses, bone issues, and obesity. However, it can also work wonders for your mental health and help reduce stress and symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Exercise helps boost the release of feel-good hormones, also known as endorphins. These hormones help reduce stress, boost your mood, and improve your overall mental health. So, it is necessary to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. You can engage in light stretches, yoga, aerobics, go for walks, or do whatever keeps you moving.
- Find a new hobby
Keeping yourself busy is crucial to help avoid boredom and keep mental health issues at bay. And finding a new hobby is an excellent way to keep yourself busy. During your senior years, you might have a lot of extra time on your hands. So, this is the perfect chance to do anything you didn’t have the time or resources to do before. You can start painting, knitting, gardening, or whatever brings you joy. Staying busy can help you avoid negative thoughts and boost productivity as well.
- Adopt a pet
Adopting a pet is also a great way to keep yourself busy and give you something to look forward to every day. Not only this, but pets also offer companionship and unconditional love, which can help reduce feelings of loneliness among seniors.
While caring for a pet can help you stay busy, it can also be beneficial for your overall well-being. Studies show that owning a pet can help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure levels and decrease symptoms of mental illnesses such as anxiety and PTSD.
- Stay connected
Loneliness and social isolation are common problems among seniors. They can increase the risk of developing issues such as dementia and other health conditions. So, seniors must socialize and connect with others as much as possible to improve their overall well-being.
For instance, you can visit family in your free time or make plans for your children or grandchildren to come visit you or catch up with old friends. On the other hand, you can volunteer at organizations, if possible, join book clubs, attend movie nights, or engage in any other social activities you can think of. You can also learn to use technology such as FaceTime or Skype to help you stay connected with your loved ones despite living far away from them.
- Get the recommended hours of sleep
Getting enough sleep is crucial for everyone, regardless of their age. However, as you age, you might experience some changes in your sleeping patterns. For instance, you might wake up and go to bed early. But, no matter what, it is necessary to get the recommended hours of sleep to stay healthy.
If you have trouble falling asleep, try avoiding caffeine before bed, do some light reading, or engage in some relaxing techniques. However, if you experience issues with sleep regularly, it is recommended to get professional medical advice.
- Keep your mind active
A healthy mind is important for completing regular physical and mental tasks with ease. Not only that, but a healthy brain allows you to regulate your emotions and prevent or delay any cognitive or memory-related issues.
Just like exercise is important for your physical health, it is also important to exercise your brain to keep it healthy and sharp. And the best way to do so is by engaging in mentally stimulating activities. Doing so activates several parts of your brain, which allows it to stay sharp and active.
There are many activities you can try to keep your mind sharp. For instance, you can solve crossword puzzles, play chess, read, or learn a new language.
Experiencing some changes in your physical and mental health as you age is part of life. However, some issues can be prevented or delayed by following a healthy lifestyle and taking care of yourself.
So, it is necessary to keep your mental health in check and take the necessary steps if you feel like it is deteriorating. As you age, it is important to keep yourself busy, socialize as much as possible, and do whatever brings you joy. However, if nothing helps, you can always seek professional help for your mental health.