Growing old is a natural process that brings about physiological and emotional changes in the individual but it does not mean that it has to be miserable and marked with diminishing mental abilities. In reality, the diseases that we call age-related – like memory loss and forgetfulness are rather lifestyle related that can be prevented and cured with proper care. Being physically active and eating the correct foods that boost brain power can help elderlies have a healthy and disease-free life.
Health Concerns in Seniors
Before discussing the ways to improve the mental health of older people memory, we must look into the most common health concerns that affect the life of elderly people.
It is normal to develop some degree of forgetfulness as we age, but progressive cognitive decline and memory loss are definitely not a natural part of aging. Older People Memory problems that interfere with the day-to-day activities might be one of the symptoms of mental illness and continuation of such problems for a prolonged period might call for professional medical assistance.
In most cases, decreased brain functions are caused by some underlying conditions such as malnutrition, dehydration or sleep deprivation, that can be easily treated. Those caring for old people health problems
must also be careful about the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and presently 35.6 million people worldwide are affected by dementia among which 60–70% of the cases are caused by Alzheimer’s.
Lack of Nutrition in Diet
Another difficulty faced by older people is the lack of availability of healthy and nutritious foods on a daily basis. As we grow older, it becomes more important to have a well-balanced diet rich in all nutrients in order to stay healthy and maintain energy levels. But in most cases, it becomes difficult for older people to purchase and prepare healthy meals for themselves and the slowed down the pace of digestion and metabolism changes the appetite and preference for foods.
Therefore, those caring for older people must be careful about the food they provide to them. Slowed down digestion also increases the problems of digestive disorders and constipation. Therefore, it is important to include more fiber rich foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables in the diet for elderly people.
Lack of Physical Activity
Exercise is an important part of healthy lifestyle at all stages of life but in most cases, older adults don’t get enough exercise and physical activity because of pains and mobility related issues. Therefore, those nursing older people must consult with health care providers to know the suitable exercise program for the individual and motivate him/her to participate in it.
Low-intensity exercises such as walking; stretching, strengthening and balancing exercises especially designed for seniors help in improving strength, energy and flexibility and also boosts mental wellbeing.
Mobility Related Disorders
Mobility related disorders such as pains, dizziness and injuries caused due to falls are one of the major health risks for those in their 70’s and above. There are various reasons for reduced balance and dizziness that cause accidents and falls, leading to serious fractures that limit mobility and renders the individual dependent on others for the rest of the life.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that more than one-third of people aged 65 years and above experience falls every year and injury-related to falls is one of the leading causes of death in elderly people.
Inability to sleep, difficult to stay asleep and sleeping disorders such as Insomnia is extremely common among seniors. Increased day time naps and frequent urination during night disrupts sleep. It is important to have at least 8 hours of undisturbed and restful sleep in order to maintain Old people health problems and well-being of elderly people. Therefore, it is important to follow certain healthy sleeping habits such as sleeping in a dark and quite room, sticking to a fixed bed time, listening to soothing music or taking a bath before bed to help in improving sleeping patterns and heal Insomnia.
8 Helpful Tips to Enhance Mental Well being of Elderly People
Following a few simple tips can bring about a lot of change at the way we all look at aging. Having a disease-free and healthy life is very much possible, provided the individual has a positive outlook to life.
Come to Terms with Retirement and Depression
For most active people, a busy professional life and career comprises the major part of their life and not everyone can cope up with retirement in a happy and jovial way. End of one’s professional career often affects the self-esteem, self-worth and financial security of the individual and he might sink into depression. Therefore, it is important to talk to family members and friends who can help open up and give a vent to pent-up emotions.
They can also help the individual realize that there is a lot more to life other than career, such as going for long vacations, enjoying with family and friends, playing with grandchildren, engaging in social activities and brushing up the favorite hobby that one never had the time to pursue.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Preparing simple and healthy meals can be an entertaining and enjoyable activity that older partners can do together. Visiting the super market to buy fruits, vegetables and groceries can be enjoyed as a recreational activity. It is important to consult a nutritionist and plan out a diet rich in all nutrients – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, poultry, and fish in order to boost up energy, limit the chances of digestive disorders and risk of food-borne illness. It is important to eat right at this stage in order to put less pressure on the digestive system because as one gets elderly people problems the body produces less saliva and stomach acids which in turn slows down the process of digestion.
Be Physically Active
The most important mental health tips include regular physical activity and exercise. As we age, our metabolism slows down and weight management becomes a major problem in older individuals. Regular exercise for at least 30 minutes helps in burning calories, improving strength and increasing flexibility and balance thereby reducing the risk of injuries caused by falls. Exercise also helps in improving the quality of sleep and boosts brain functions to reduce the risk of cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Opt for fun filled activities such as swimming, biking along with yoga and tai-chi.
Work your Brain
Progressing age also affects the psychological health of the individual and people tend to become loners and withdraw from social activities and engagements that can have serious negative impact on mental health. Try to challenge your brain and keep yourself updated by trying out new hobbies, doing puzzles and crosswords, playing memory boosting board games, reading books and newspapers and participating in social activities, family gatherings and reunions.
Get Good Sleep
Try to avoid day time naps or if it is a must then limit it to maximum one hour during the early afternoon so that it does not interrupt with night time sleep. Develop healthy sleeping habits and try not to depend on sleeping pills and tranquilizers to promote sleep. Set up and follow certain healthy sleeping habits in order to treat sleeping disorders and Insomnia. Try to sleep and wake up every day at a fixed time, make sure that your bedroom is dark, noiseless and comfortable when you go to sleep. Don’t watch T.V before going to bed, read a book or listen to soothing music instead in order to relax your senses and cool your body down.
Limit Smoking and Alcohol
Although, alcohol abuse is common among all age groups, it becomes a more serious problem in elderly people. Aged people depend on alcohol for various reasons such as depression, loneliness, loss of physical independence and mobility, illness and various other factors. Excessive dependence on alcohol and smoking not only deteriorates the physical health but also affects the behavioral health of elderly people. Therefore, it is important to keep alcohol consumption under check and cope with boredom and depression in more productive ways.
Retirement and progressing age does not mean the end of the world, it means the beginning of a whole new stage of life which people need to acknowledge and accept wholeheartedly. Maintain your sense of humor and try to keep yourself busy with activities you love to do such as joining a club, learning a new language, keeping a daily journal, going for walks in the park that will help maintain your sense of purpose. Embracing spirituality can also help in improving psychological strength and mental wellbeing in many cases.
Relax your Mind
Last but not the least; don’t forget to relax your mind and body to promote stress relief. Practice meditation and deep breathing exercises to tone down your heart rate, control hypertension and gain calm and tranquility. Talk to family members and friends, preferably face-to-face and share your thoughts and feelings in order to reduce depression and anxiety.
Hope, these tips for improving mental well being of older people will help you with the caring for elderly and understand their physical and mental requirements in a better way.
Image Sources: ascseniorcare.com, newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com, vnsny.org, dailymail.co.uk.