When imagining ailments associated with old age, most people think of hearing loss, difficult walking, lapsing motor skills, and other obviously physical afflictions. Rarely, however, do people consider the perils of mental illness.
Depression, alongside other mental illnesses, affects millions of seniors each year. Loss of loved ones, onset of physical ailments, and changing living situations may exacerbate and contribute to elderly depression.
Follow these three tips to help the seniors in your life stave off mental illness.
1. Keep Fit
Not only does physical fitness keep the body in shape, but it keeps the mind fit too. Exercise releases endorphins that buoys mood. Ideal activities include:
- Walking long distances
- Tai Chi
- Activity classes for seniors
Relaxing activities such as Tai chi are proven to reduce stress and clear the mind.
2. Keep Social
Innumerable studies show that elders who maintain active social lives are particularly strong against depression. Loss of friends is tragically an aspect of aging, so it's vital to make new friends in old age.
Social activities including bowling leagues, chess games, book clubs, volunteering opportunities and more elevate happiness and the mind's resiliency. Isolation only contributes to the onset of mental illness.
3. Keep an Internet Connection
The most popular and effective way for the elderly to keep stimulated is to engage with activities online.
Increasing research in the field of geriatrics indicates that both social media and video games contribute positively to seniors' mental health. Social media keeps older adults in the best contact with friends and family, and video games provide both entertainment and cognitive engagement.
Video game consoles that feature physical components, like Nintendo's Wii system, may even contribute to physical wellness to boot.