Showing posts with label mental health in the elderly. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mental health in the elderly. 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

Learn more at: 

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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Photo credits: Photos from Deborah Dian and