Seniors are at a greater risk for developing mental health problems. As you reach retirement, life slows down and you may have a harder time staying busy. This is when mental illnesses such as depression can sneak in. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 6.5 million seniors suffer from depression. Staying physically healthy, socially active and mentally engaged are keys to improving your senior mental health. Here are some things you can do to strengthen your mental health:
- Exercise: Try to exercise daily, but even just a couple times a week can make a difference.
- Socialize: Call a friend. Get involved with your local senior center. Stay connected to family. These are all great ways to remain social. Isolation is one of the main triggers of depression.
- Learn something new: Whether it’s learning a new skill, taking a class or learning a foreign language; it can be anything that challenges your brain.
- Adopt a pet: This not only provides companionship, but also can reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
- Play games: Puzzles, crossword puzzles, board games and card games are all fun ways to keep your mind stimulated.
All of these are great ways to help keep yourself mentally healthy. It is never too early to strengthen your mental health. You don’t have to be a senior to follow these tips. Everyone can benefit from improving their mental health.
It is important to know the warning signs of depression and mental illness. Unfortunately, depression in seniors often gets over looked especially when there are other existing health issues. Discuss your concerns with a physician if you think your loved one may be exhibiting signs of depression or other mental illnesses. Here are some of the signs to look for; difficulty falling or staying asleep, fatigue/exhaustion, aching muscles and joints, digestive problems, headaches and changes in appetite.
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