If your senior lives alone or away from family and friends, it can be easy for them to become lonely and feel left out. According to a Center for Disease Control study of mental health in older adults aged 55+, it is estimated that 20% of seniors experience some type of mental health concern. The most common conditions include anxiety, severe cognitive impairment, and mood disorders, such as depression or bipolar depression.
However, there are various ways you can help your senior boost their mood which in turn improves their mental and physical health.
Here are some ways you can help your senior boost their mood:
- Regular Exercise
- Learning New Skills
- Involve Them in Family Outings
- Help Them Learn New Technology
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According to the CDC, adults aged 65 and older need at least 150 minutes of activity every week. For example, this can be spread out over 30 minutes of activity 5 days a week. They also recommend doing activities that strengthen their muscles twice a week and doing activities that will improve their balance three times a week.
To help them be more active, you can encourage them to go to a gym or go on walks with you or find nearby fitness classes that they’d be interested in joining like swimming, dance, or yoga. Additionally, spending time outdoors has been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce stress. It’s also linked to higher levels of concentration, creativity, and improved mental clarity.
Learning New Skills
While regular exercise can keep your senior physically fit, learning new skills will help them mentally. Studies have found that learning new skills stimulates neurons in the brain, which forms more neural pathways and allows electrical impulses to travel faster across them. This helps them learn better and can help prevent or lessen things like memory loss or dementia. Here are a few ideas for new skills they can learn:
Artistic skills: Drawing, painting, photography, or a musical instrument.
Technical skills: Photo or video editing.
Cultural skills: A new cooking style or a new language.
Involve Them in Family Outings
If your senior doesn’t live with you or other family members, it can be easy for them to feel left out. Instead, you can set up weekly or monthly outings that they can join such as going out to restaurants, shopping, or trips to new cities. If you don’t live close to them, you can help them find local events they can regularly attend such as farmer’s markets or senior meetups. These will all help them socialize more often and prevent loneliness.
Help Them Learn New Technology
It can be easy for seniors to become overwhelmed by new technology and lose touch with loved ones if they’re unable to communicate with them. According to a Pew Research survey, 96% of people ages 18 to 29 own a smartphone while only 61% of those ages 65 and older own a smartphone. They also found that only 45% of those 65 and older use social media, compared with 84% of those ages 18 to 29 and 81% of those 30 to 49.
If you’re able to, you can personally help them learn new technology like specific phone features and apps or set up certain social media profiles. You can also look into local classes they can take specifically catered to helping seniors learn technology. This will help them keep in touch with friends and family and feel more connected.
Contact Bluebird Homecare today to learn how we can help your senior.