As we age, significant changes may occur to our bodies and our minds. The memory may fail, which can be devastating to loved ones. Cognitive decline is also something we work against as we age. There are many activities you can implement to help improve the mental health of the elders in your life. Try these daily and look for improvements in mental health and a potential delay in memory decline.
The foods we consume affect us physically and mentally. Fruits, vegetables and nuts are great brain foods. Salmon and other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and legumes are good choices. Vitamins and supplements may also improve focus, mood and energy. You could try cbd flower, as well.
Building jigsaw puzzles and solving other thinking-based games, such as Sudoku, can entertain and help the brain function. These puzzles require a thought process that can help stimulate brains. Jigsaw puzzles can also help with fine motor skills. Host a game night with friends featuring Bridge or any other favorite card or board games. Socialization and brain stimulation can have a doubly good effect on mental health.
Surround your loved one with family and friends as often as possible. These visits from familiar faces can help enhance mood and reduce depression. Frequent visits can reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. Letters, phone calls, video chats and in-person visits are all great options.
Old and new pictures of family and friends are great to place around the room or home where the older person lives. They can serve as a reminder to help memory and can also promote happiness. A memory photo book featuring pictures spanning over decades is a beautiful, inclusive way for older individuals to remember special events, time spent with loved ones and keep their minds active.
Spending time outside can provide a significant boost to mental health. Sunlight provides Vitamin D, an essential vitamin that can help strengthen bones and helps increase the serotonin levels inside of the body, which positively affects mood and mental health. Another wonderful benefit of sunlight is the release of nitric oxide within your bloodstream. Nitric oxide lowers blood pressure which can improve heart health and decrease the risk of stroke.
Exercise may be more challenging as the body ages, but even a short walk each day can work wonders for the body and mind. Make the stroll outside to double up on the benefits of the sunshine. Exercise can help with weight management and to keep some diseases in check. As for mental health, physical activity is linked to decreased stress, anxiety and depression. Senior exercise classes are a perfect mixture of physical activity for aging bodies. Water aerobics or swimming laps can be a great option, too. For an extra fun visit, you could stream a virtual dance class or another workout program to participate in together.
Reading has been linked to enhanced memory function and reduced sleep. It is also a great calming activity that can prepare our minds and bodies for sleep. Encourage reading by providing multiple options, buying large print copies if necessary, or taking the individual to the library to choose their own selection. Consider purchasing copies of their favorite classic books to invoke fond memories as they continue to sharpen their mind through reading.
Practicing your religion can establish feelings of peace and happiness. Reflection, meditation, prayer, Bible study and volunteering are all ways to connect with your spirituality. If you cannot leave your home, you can watch services and sermons on your television or computer.
Quality sleep can have a dramatic effect on mental health. Poor sleep can wreak havoc on performance, focus, energy levels and mood. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep per night. Prepare for bed by giving your body and mind time to unwind. Warm baths, mediation, sound machines and ceiling fans can all promote better sleep.
We should take steps to improve our mental health at all ages of life. As we age, memory loss and loneliness can have a drastic effect on cognitive status. Not everyone will respond the same way to these tips, but it is worth a shot.