The elderly population often faces unique challenges regarding mental health. As they get older, they may experience less socialization and companionship than when they were younger. Their sense of self-sufficiency can also decline with age, so they might not feel as productive or capable as when they were working. The insights in this blog have been designed specifically to help seniors maintain their mental health, even at an advanced age.


1. Get Plenty of Rest

Not sleeping enough can impair cognitive functioning. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults over age 65 need about seven hours every 24 hours. Helping seniors maintain adequate sleep requires helping them establish healthy sleep-wake routines and schedule sufficient time for these routines to be followed. You can help them set up these routines by putting an alarm clock in their room and arranging their schedules accordingly.


2. Eat a Healthy Diet

Proper nutrition helps balance your mood and energy, keeps your mind clear, and helps prevent disease. Reducing stress can also help improve mood. Most nutritionists agree that a diet filled with lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein is ideal. Ensuring seniors are eating properly might be as simple as checking in with them from time to time and making sure they’re not skipping meals or substituting a bowl of ice cream for dinner when you aren’t looking. If your senior is living in senior assisted living facilities, you should make sure they are getting proper nutrition by talking to staff and checking on them.


3. Maintain Social Interaction

Studies have shown that loneliness can lead to depression. Seniors who don’t feel like they’re part of a social group are far more likely to suffer from depression and many other mental health problems. Depending on the senior’s circumstances and preferences, you can help them find ways to socialize that don’t involve face-to-face interaction. Online social networking, for example, allows seniors to build connections with others across the country or the world.


4. Exercise

Exercise provides many benefits that help our brains stay healthy, including increased blood flow to the brain and a positive impact on mood. To get started, it is important to find an exercise routine that you enjoy doing. Seniors should start with a light workout and work their way up to more challenging forms of exercise. To keep your body moving as you age, consider taking dance classes or tai chi lessons in addition to other forms of exercise.


5. Seek Professional Help

Although you can help your loved one maintain his mental health on a day-to-day basis, there may come a time when you’ll want to seek out professional help. Your loved one may benefit from counseling or medication when the symptoms warrant it. Senior assisted living facilities or domiciliary care can provide experts who can help your loved one maintain good mental health and maximize their quality of life.


6. Be Mindful Of Stress

Seniors are often more sensitive to stress than younger adults, so they might feel the effects of it more acutely than the younger people around them. But even if they’re not experiencing it themselves, they may be able to pick up on signs that their loved ones are stressed out. Remember that it’s never too late to seek help. Sometimes just talking about stressful events can help alleviate a lot of that pressure.


7. Stay Positive

Negativity is as contagious as it is destructive. It’s important for seniors to remember that no matter how bad things might get, it is possible to find ways to succeed and achieve happiness and fulfillment in life. Look for things out of the ordinary that give you a sense of purpose and invite your loved one to join you in your endeavors.

Two residents from senior assisted living facilities go for a jog outdoors


8. Keep a Gratitude Journal

It’s a good idea to encourage your loved one to keep a gratitude journal to help him focus on the positive things in his life. Writing down three things for which you’re grateful every night can help lift your mood and protect you against depression. Make sure the journal is somewhere you’ll see daily, like the refrigerator or by your bedside.


9. Set Healthy Boundaries

Seniors can experience more loneliness with age. Even if they lead active social lives, they may still need help ensuring their boundaries are respected by their loved ones. It can be easy for family members to get caught up in the hectic pace of life as a senior’s caretaker only to find you’ve overstepped your bounds. Setting healthy boundaries for yourself can prevent this from happening.


10. Be Present

Seniors who can’t be present in their own experiences may find it difficult to maintain a high level of activity and energy. Drawing attention away from the present moment by thinking about other past or future events can cause a noticeable dip in mental functioning. It is important to think clearly and process events as they happen through careful observation and independent thought rather than relying on memory.


11. Spend Time with Pets

Seniors who have pets are less likely to suffer from depression. This can be partly attributed to the time and attention they spend on their pets. It has also been suggested that the companionship pets bring can make your life more meaningful and increase your self-worth. Consider getting your senior loved one a pet if they aren’t already used to having one.


12. Don’t Forget About Fun

Seniors should always strive to have fun in their lives because it can help keep stress levels down and help ward off depression. Taking your senior loved one to amusement parks, a movie, a theater, or an indoor sport can help them enjoy life while they’re still able. And by giving your loved one the opportunity to interact with people their own age and make new friends (as well as keep old ones), you’ll give your loved one more reasons to keep living without depression.


Senior Assisted Living at Sabal Palms

Along with the physical changes in our bodies as we age, there are also emotional and cognitive changes. How well our mental health fares is largely determined by how well we adapt to the changes our bodies undergo. The information in this post can help you better understand the mental health of older adults. That way, you can recognize signs of depression and other mental illnesses among your loved ones. Senior assisted living facilities are there if you need help or your loved one needs help.

When it comes to mental health, the Wellness and Happiness factors play a large role. Wellness is about our physical health and happiness is about our intellectual, psychological, and social pursuits. Check out our website for more information about these factors and their role in our senior assisted living facilities.