No matter what age we are, living a life of purpose, connection and joy is critical for our physical and mental wellbeing. For older adults, a variety of obstacles like vision loss, social isolation, mobility problems and memory issues can make enjoying life more difficult.
More than 1.8 million Canadians over 60 years of age are living with a mental health problem or illness.
Why is it important for seniors to focus on their mental health?
- Socially isolated seniors have a 59% greater risk of mental and physical decline than those who do not experience social isolation (Forbes).
- The health effects of social isolation and loneliness on seniors is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes per day (AARP.org).
- Depression in the elderly is associated with increased risk of cardiac diseases and risk of death from illness (WebMD).
Signs of depression in seniors can include change in attitude, self-isolation, weight loss, fatigue or lack of interest in once enjoyable activities.
For older adults that want to improve their quality of life through enhanced mental health, there are a few things they can do to kick off their healthy habits.
- Exercise – Seniors should always consult with a physician before starting any physical activity or fitness program. Seniors that are able, and approved, to exercise may see increased physical and mental wellness. Exercise has been proven to have a positive effect on the brain.
- Connection – At any age, many people find joy in spending time with family and friends. Social isolation can be a problem for seniors that have mobility issues or aren’t able to drive, or who have loved ones that live far away. However, there are services that can help overcome these issues, including transportation help, in-home care assistance, technology that fosters connection and other outside sources of help.
- Volunteering – Sharing time and talents doing volunteer work can bring a sense or purpose and fulfillment. Many organizations have programs and volunteer opportunities specifically geared to older adults.
- Spending time on joyful activities – Everyone has a different interest or hobby that brings joy, whether that’s music, art, dance, gardening or games. Seniors should try to spend time doing something that brings them happiness on a daily basis to improve their quality of life.
Comfort Keepers® Can Help
Our goal is to provide uplifting in-home care that benefits seniors and their families. The individualized care plans we create for our clients consider physical goals as well as non-physical mental health needs. Our caregivers can provide transportation to community events, support physician-prescribed exercise regimens, provide companionship and help families stay connected through technology. We strive to elevate the human spirit through quality, compassionate, joyful care.
To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today.
Science Daily/McMaster University. “Working it Out: Researchers find exercise may help fight depression in seniors.” Web. 2019.
WebMD. “Depression in the Elderly.” Web.
Healthline. “Geriatric Depression (Depression in Older Adults).” Web.
Mental Health Commission of Canada. “Seniors”. Web.