12 Essential Tips to Help Seniors Living with Mental Disability
Many people believe that mental health disorders come with aging. However, this is not the case. According to a study by Disease Control and Prevention, 20% of adults from 55 years and above suffer from various mental health issues. The most common issues are cognitive impairment, mood disorders, depression, and anxiety. Most seniors neglect treatment because they are ashamed of the condition or view it as part of aging. The following are some tips on how you can help seniors living with mental disabilities.
1. Engage in Mind Games
Encourage seniors to play mind games to help their brains stay sharper. Keeping your brain active sharpens several thinking skills like decision making, processing speed, planning skills, and much more. Keeping their mind engaged leads to a healthy brain. Some of the actives seniors should engage in include:
• Reading and writing • Learning a new language • Playing musical instruments • Playing games and puzzles
2. Physical Exercise
Engaging in physical activities promotes a healthy life. Seniors should engage in walks, ballroom dancing, yoga classes among other physical activities. Not only do they benefit the body but also the mind. Staying physically active minimizes the risks of falls and boosts their confidence. Other low-impact exercises for seniors include strength training and stretching. Such activities reduce anxiety, stress, and depression.
3. Close Relationship with Friends
Isolation can bring depression to any person regardless of age. It is good to keep seniors connected with family and friends. Expand their social network by creating time to laugh, chat, and tell stories with them. You can enhance their social network by inviting family and friends. Keeping in touch reduces isolation and loneliness, and this improves their social and emotional health.
4. New Hobby after Retirement
It is good to stay active even after retirement. Seniors can spend time developing a new hobby to keep them busy. They can engage in various hobbies like sewing, gardening, painting, and cooking depending on their personal preferences.
5. Pets for Company
Pets provide companionship and a great way to keep seniors active. Studies by CDC show that having a bond with your pet brings happiness, lowers stress, and improves your fitness. Having pets also lower loneliness feelings, blood pressure and brings chances of socialization. If they don’t prefer pets, they can also volunteer at various animal shelters to connect with animals.
6. Social Connections
Studies show that socialization is good for your mental well-being. It reduces anxiety and depression symptoms. When seniors mingle and interact with others at local neighborhood centers, they build great social connections. Many neighborhood centers offer different classes like basket weaving yoga, pottery, and much more to keep their mind engaged.
7. Keep Tally of their Medications
It is normal for seniors with mental illness to forget about their medication. Make their work easier by sorting their medication into daily portions. Maintain a calendar with then and after taking the daily pills, you should mark the calendar to avoid mistakes. Know the type of medication they are taking and the possible side effects.
8. Stick to Routines
Drastic changes in routines can affect the mental state of seniors. It is good to ensure they have a routine that they stick to. Proper planning of daily activities and ensuring they are regular is important. It helps them stay in control and well-organized.
Volunteering provides seniors with a sense of fulfillment. There are plenty of opportunities seniors can engage in, which makes them feel valued. Volunteering offers many benefits that enhance their mental, physical and emotional health. They can volunteer in hospitals, sharing skills with children, or at a local food pantry. All these activities help them stay socially engaged, happy, and active.
10. Notice Mood Changes
It takes a lot of attention to identifying mood changes in seniors even if you are living with them. Create time and have regular conversations with them. If you notice signs of anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts, seek expert help.
11. Give them Control
While taking care of seniors with mental disabilities is great, allow them some level of control. They also need to feel dependent. Involve them in their care decisions and makes them feel comfortable.
12. Visit your Doctor
We are all prone to mental illness whether young or old. So, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Seniors with mental disabilities should seek doctor help just as they would do with any other chronic illness. Let your doctor know about the sudden shifts in mood swings, sleeping problems, or anxiety among other changes. All these conditions are treatable and your doctor can prescribe medication or therapy.
Mental problems are likely to increase with age. Therefore, it is good for seniors to observe their mental health. Without a healthy mind, they are prone to many physical and mental ailments. Helping seniors engage in mind-engaging activities every day is beneficial. Implement the above tips and you will help seniors overcome their mental disabilities.