8 Effective Ways for Older Adults to Boost Their Mental Health and Increase Longevity

It’s natural for mental health to take a dip during old age. As a result, many would develop illnesses like Dementia and Alzheimer’s. However, this doesn’t have to be the story. You can change the narrative by keeping your brain health sharp even at old age. 

Here are ways in which you can do it –

Physical Activity 

Physical activities or exercise are not just good for the body. It has immense mental health implications as well. Exercise releases endorphins – ‘the happiness hormone’ which is an excellent mood booster and stress buster. Physical activity is excellent for fighting anxiety and depression; both of which are common during old age.

Ideally, you should aim for up to 60 minutes of exercise every day. If not possible, even half an hour would do. Try to incorporate a variety of movements such as resistance training, cardio, balance exercise, etc.

To make things more sociable, you should try to aim for group exercises. In the end, the nature of exercise doesn’t matter; as long as you get your body moving and do things safely.

Learn Something New

Learning a new skill or undertaking a new hobby/creative project can nourish your senses, mental well-being, and health. Learn a foreign language. That’s one example. When you listen to new sounds and words, it develops new connections in your brain.

Even if you can go for athletic or artistic pursuits, that would be great too. Try to go for things like tennis, painting, cooking, playing musical instruments by taking music lessons, etc. Any hobby that you had always wanted to undertake but kept delaying – now would be a good time to pursue it.

Healthy Diet

An active body relies profoundly on your lifestyle. That means you have to take care of what you eat and think. According to one of the research on Alzheimer’s – some lifestyle changes could do wonders to ward off memory loss better than medical treatments, etc.

To that end, you should aim to consume a healthy, balanced, and nutritious diet along with enjoyable physical activities such as walking and group exercises. This way, you can maximize your brain’s functions and enjoy whole mental health as well.

Socialize at Your Senior Center

Socializing with people of your age can have a tremendously profound effect on your mental health. Try to engage in stimulating, encouraging conversations with your peers. Partake in as many social activities and games as possible. 

Seniors who remain socially active until later years of their life are less likely to feel anxious, lonely, and depressed. Therefore, they are less likely to experience mental health problems. Get into the habit of inviting your loved ones, friends, and family over to enjoy some time together. 

Work out activities that you can conduct in your religious groups or community. Having an active social network and connections is one of the finest ways to remain spiritually and mentally high. It will also keep you busy and engaged so that anxiety and depression don’t seep into your life.

Busy the Brain

By keeping your brain busy, seniors can significantly reduce the possibility of dementia. Brain boosting activities can sharpen memory, improve cognition, reasoning and also speed up the way the brain processes information.

Try to take out at least 30 minutes for engaging in mentally stimulating activities such as putting together daily puzzles, learning to play an instrument, reading a book, working out a crossword puzzle, cooking a new recipe, organizing the closet, creating something arty, etc. 

Make a Spiritual Connection

Often the need for having that spiritual connection comes naturally at old age. However, if you have still not considered this aspect of life, now is the best time to consider stocking up on spiritual journalism, videos, and practice. Try to engage in meditative practices. 

Watch videos that talk about spirituality, enlightenment, and awakenings. Try to read up on books around positivity and ancient cultures on life and its meaning.

Get Adequate Sleep

Sleep and mental health are closely connected. When you get plenty of sleep, you tend to lead healthier, happier lives. You also tend to live longer and fall less sick.

Unfortunately, as you age – the possibilities of disturbed sleep, insomnia, and disturbances increase. It also increases the chances of chronic disease and depression. 

You could try using essential oils or meditative therapies if you have trouble sleeping. There are plenty of ways in which you can ensure a good night’s sleep.

Consider Owning a Pet

If you want to know the true benefits of owning a pet – just try talking to someone who actually owns a pet. Be it a dog or a cat – the companionship and the kind of love that you will get from an animal is incomprehensible. It’s hard to describe in words. 

The warmth that you will get will do wonders for your mental health. Pet owners tend to live happier lives. They are also healthier, mentally sharper, and have a will to live. That’s why they tend to live longer as well.

Go Back to School

Learn a new trade. Take on a new course. Keep your brain young by taking classes at a local community college. Many colleges offer certain courses for free or at a low cost. Taking on a literature course or styling a new language are some of the best ways to utilize the free time at old age. In the times of pandemic right now you could even opt for online classes.

Learn to Manage Stress Levels

Stress is not entirely bad for you. In fact, when you think that it’s bad for you, that’s when it’s truly bad. To counteract its negative implications, you should know how to manage things. Otherwise, it can take a toll on your nervous system and brain health. It can keep you constantly in that fight or flight mode. 

Check out this post on how you can keep stress levels at bay.

Bottom Line

These are some tried and tested ways in which you can increase your life and also stay mentally active during old age.

Thanks to our guest writer: Curtis Dean, Sage Music


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