Showing posts with label healthy aging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label healthy aging. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Maintaining Mental Health as We Age

Many seniors feel lonely, even when surrounded by beauty.

As a resident of an over 55 Active Adult Community, it has become obvious over the years that many retired people suffer from loneliness and depression.  These mental health issues can also affect their physical health.  In fact, when I had knee replacement surgery, my surgeon's assistant followed up for months with questionnaires about whether or not I was feeling lonely or depressed.  The questions included asking if I felt I had the personal support I needed, both physically and mentally, in order to fully recover from my surgery.  These are major issues for senior citizens.

While most of us realize that seeing a doctor, getting fresh air and exercise, sleeping enough and eating right are all good ways to overcome depression, many people lose the energy and motivation to seek out the help they need once they fall into deep despair.  It is far better to take care of your mental health before things have gone that far.

As a result, I was pleased to receive a request from a guest writer, Johny Kershaws, who offered to write a post on how we can all maintain our mental health as we age.  I was impressed with his suggestions, which are a good reminder for people of all ages. That guest post is below:

Maintaining Mental Health as We Age

by Johny Kershaws

As we age, practicing good self-care and paying extra attention to our mental health is essential. Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and memory loss can be expected in seniors. Fortunately, some simple steps can help us maintain our mental well-being as we age. Here are some suggestions for maintaining mental health as we age.

Stay connected

One of the most crucial things older adults can do to stay healthy and preserve good mental health is to stay active. Exercise lowers stress, improves mood, increases energy, and delays cognitive degeneration. Exercise regularly to strengthen your muscles and joints as well as release endorphins, which are hormones that have anti-anxiety and anti-pain properties. In addition to lowering tension and enhancing sleep, exercise also boosts confidence and self-esteem.

Find activities which are both pleasant and practical for older persons is crucial. This could involve engaging in low-impact activities like yoga or tai chi, swimming in a pool, playing sports, going for a leisurely stroll with a friend or family member, signing up for a fitness class at the gym or community center, or having a leisurely walk. Regularly performing easy tasks like housework or gardening counts as exercise. Indoor exercise bikes designed for seniors offer a great way to stay active even when the weather outside is not ideal for walks.

Whatever the chosen activity, it's critical to set realistic goals and maintain consistency. The recommended amount of daily moderate exercise for older persons is 30 minutes, though this can be divided into smaller sessions if necessary.Whatever the chosen activity, it's critical to set realistic goals and maintain consistency. The recommended amount of daily moderate exercise for older persons is 30 minutes a day, though this can be divided into smaller sessions if necessary.


As we age, staying socially active can help us to maintain our mental health. Socializing helps us stave off feelings of loneliness and isolation, both associated with a decline in mental health. Staying connected with family, friends, and other social networks can reduce anxiety and depression symptoms while helping to increase self-esteem and feelings of belonging.

One way to stay social is by joining groups or clubs that relate to your interests, such as a book club, knitting circle, or outdoor activity group. This can help you develop relationships with others who share similar interests, making it easier to connect with people regularly. Attempting to stay in touch with your family and friends is very crucial. This can be done through regular phone calls, video chats, or even just sending an occasional email or text. Regularly scheduled get-togethers can also help you stay connected and foster meaningful relationships.

Eat a healthy diet to support the brain’s needs

Eating a balanced and nutritious diet is one of the best ways to promote healthy brain function as we age. Eating foods rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can help support our mental health and well-being as we age. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, lean proteins, and fatty fish benefit mental health and can help protect against cognitive decline. Incorporating these nutrient-rich foods into one’s diet is key for supporting healthy brain functioning as we age.

Evidence suggests that an overabundance of unhealthy fats, sugars, and processed carbohydrates may negatively affect our mental health. Reducing the intake of unhealthy fats and sugars and limiting our consumption of processed carbohydrates can help keep the brain healthy and functioning as we age.

Try a new hobby

If we don't put self-care first as we age, our mental health may deteriorate. Taking up a new interest that promotes mental health is a fantastic approach to achieving this. This could involve anything from picking up a new skill—like learning a musical instrument or a new language—to creating art or gardening. All of these activities include using and exercising our brains in different ways. They can help keep our minds engaged and provide a sense of accomplishment and allow us to express ourselves creatively. By participating in these hobbies, we can also build relationships with like-minded individuals, potentially expanding our social circle and helping us stay mentally healthy. There is evidence that hobbies can increase our happiness levels and reduce stress.

Make sure to get enough sleep

Good sleep hygiene is vital for mental health. Adults over 65 especially need to prioritize getting enough restful sleep each night. To get the best quality of sleep, try to go to bed and wake up consistently each day and limit your exposure to electronic devices before bedtime. Avoiding caffeine late in the day can also help you get a better night’s sleep.

Find mental health support

Our needs for mental health may change as we become older. For seniors struggling with addiction, finding mental health help is crucial. Online counseling services are a fantastic resource for finding mental health information. These services enable you to get individual and group therapy sessions conveniently and comfortably at home. This is especially beneficial for people who find it challenging to attend in-person counseling due to age or physical constraints.

Connecting with your local mental health organizations and support groups, such as mental health centers or adult day care programs, is also a good idea. These services provide access to counseling, support groups, and other programs that can help you cope with the changes associated with aging. It's also essential to stay connected with friends and family. Talk to your loved ones about how you're feeling, and consider joining social clubs or community groups designed for seniors. This can help you stay connected with others and feel supported.


Be careful to schedule time for self-care and engage in stress-reduction exercises like yoga, deep breathing, and mindfulness meditation. You may keep a healthy mental outlook as you age by taking time to unwind and focus on your mental welfare. By taking charge of your mental health needs and seeking the necessary resources, you can ensure that you stay mentally healthy and resilient as you age. With the proper support, you can successfully navigate this new stage in life.

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Maintaining Your Serenity

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One way to maintain your your mental well-being to try to focus on keeping a sense of peace and serenity no matter what is going on in your life.   This little lovely tote back with a scene from Laguna Beach and the phrase "Living a Day at a Time" may be a helpful reminder to you to try to relax and maintain your peace-of-mind whenever you begin to worry, feel depressed or become upset.  

You can purchase this tote bag and other uplifting items at my Etsy store. For the moment I like the positive approach of reminding ourselves to stay serene as much as we can, considering the problems that life can throw our way.  Check out my Etsy Store at:

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If you are interested in learning more about financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, common medical issues as you age, travel and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

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Photo credits: Photos from Deborah Dian and

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Positive Aging and an Easier Retirement


Order this shirt on Etsy from DeborahDianGifts
If you are over the age of 60, you have probably looked around at your friends and casual acquaintances and realized that not everyone ages the same, and not everyone has an easy retirement.  Of course, most of us want to definitely be in the group that is active and doing well when we reach our 70s, 80s and beyond, but we may think it is our of our hands.

While it might seem easy to just shrug our shoulders and say, "Some people have better genes," there are actually quite a few things we can do to improve our odds of living longer and more comfortably than many of our peers. It really is possible for many people to continue to enjoy their lives and feel "Forever Young," at least for a couple of decades after retirement.  So, what do you have to do? 

According to the AARP Bulletin in June, 2022, there are several ways to improve the chances you will have a better future after retirement.  Here's a guide to their tips for positive aging and an easier retirement.

1. Get regular medical check-ups.  Nearly every private insurance and Medicare plan includes a free annual wellness visit.  When you go to the doctor, you are likely to get vaccine boosters and screenings for a variety of illnesses which, if caught in time, could be treated and, possibly, cured.  Don't be surprised if they recommend vaccines for the flu, Covid, shingles, pneumonia, tetanus and whooping cough, as well as screenings for breast cancer, colon cancer and other common health problems.  Simply avoiding those illnesses could improve the quality of your life as you age. 

2. Get regular dental care.  The AARP article asked, "Could you pick your dentist out of a line-up?"  While that is a humorous way to put it, the truth is that many senior citizens avoid the dentist until they are in pain.  By then, they may have done a lot of damage to their mouth and the rest of their body. If you have gum inflammation, for example, it increases your risk of heart disease. There is also some evidence it can lead to some types of cognitive decline.  Research also shows that the more teeth you have at age 70, the longer you are likely to live. 

3.  Stay physically active. Everyone should try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a minimum of five days a week.  Get more if you can.  Any kind of movement counts, including walking, golf, housework, dancing and gardening.  Just get out of your chair and move as much as you can, as often as you can.

4.  Make your home as safe and accessible as possible.  Do you have a one-story home or a master bedroom on the main floor of the house?  Is your shower large enough for you to add a seat and sit down if you get light-headed?  Are there grab bars conveniently located by the bathtub?  Are light switches low enough to reach, even in a wheelchair?  Are the doorways large enough to accommodate a wheelchair or walker?  If you cannot answer "yes' to all these questions, you may either want to make some renovations, or move to a senior community which is better suited to keeping residents safe and comfortable as they age.

5.  Do you have a plan for when you cannot drive? Many people lose the ability to drive as they age, whether it because of diminished vision or other health problems.  How will you handle this, if it happens to you?  Is there a convenient bus service in your area?  Could you use a golf cart for short local trips? Would a motorized wheelchair be feasible? Have you learned how to order groceries and other services on the computer?  Even if you don't need to give up driving, yet, you should see what is available in your area so you know what to do in an emergency.  

Practice ordering your groceries online, occasionally.  I frequently order my groceries through Amazon Fresh, and love it!  I've written another post with detailed instructions about it, which you can find, here:  "Ordering Groceries from Amazon Fresh Can Help Many Seniors."  Check it out and make sure you are ready to use it whenever you cannot easily get out to the store in person. 

Buy this shirt at DeborahDianGifts on Etsy
You may also want to do your shopping for other things online. To help, I have opened the DeborahDianGifts gift shop on Etsy where you may be able to find items for your own home, or gifts for your friends and family members, including jewelry, t-shirts, tote-bags, coffee mugs, hats, LGBTQ gifts, and gifts for people in 12 Step Recovery programs, like AA and Alanon.  Most items are priced between $15 and $40. You can find unique gifts there, and in other online shops, for most people you know, without having to travel to a mall or department store.

Learning to shop online is one way you can safely remain in your home as you age, whether or not you can drive.

6.  Stay busy and active.  Even if you cannot drive, it is important to have regular planned activities and a purpose to your life.  The more activities and projects you have, the longer you are likely to live.  Just because you have stopped working, it does not mean you should sit home and watch TV.  Instead, record your favorite shows and get active doing other things.  Walk the dog.  Take an exercise class. Meet friends for lunch or coffee. Volunteer at your place of worship, your favorite charitable organization, or the local food bank.  Write a book.  Learn a new language.  I could go on and on, but you get the idea!

7.  Take control of your finances.  While you cannot control everything in your life, nearly everyone has some control over how much they spend in comparison to how much income they have.  If your spending exceeds your income, the sooner you change things the better off you will be.  If you aren't sure where to start, go to and use AARP's free online digital retirement coach, Avo.  In a few minutes, it can give you a personalized retirement action plan.  If you still need more help, meet with a financial planner through your bank, credit union, or pension plan.  You can also find financial planners through, or

8.  Plan for the best and prepare for the worst.  Get to know the local assisted living facilities and home care agencies in your area.  You can Google a list of them, or get a list from the local senior center.  Then, check them out when you have the opportunity. Read the online reviews. Do you know someone who had to spend two weeks in assisted living after hip surgery?  Did a neighbor need a caregiver either temporarily or permanently?  Ask them questions. What did it cost? How much help did they get?  Find out what they liked and did not like about the services they used, and what they would have done differently.  Armed with this information, you will be better prepared if the time comes when you need a little extra help. 

9.  Put together an emergency phone list.  Everyone needs at least one person they could call in the middle of the night in an emergency, whether that is an adult child, a neighbor or a friend.   Put several names on the list for extra peace of mind.  Post the list on the refrigerator, along with your medical information, so you have it in a handy place if you ever need the EMTs to come to your home. They will also ask for a list of your medications, when they show up.  Remember the Scout motto:  Be Prepared!

Once you have done all the above things, you can relax and simply enjoy your retirement.  You've done everything you can to assure yourself that you have prepared as well as you can for the future!

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us.  You will receive a weekly email with the most current post. 

If you are interested in learning more about saving money, financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, common medical issues as you age, travel and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

Source:  Facts about aging from the June 2022 AARP Bulletin.

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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Photo credit:  My Etsy Store: