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Effective Methods of Boosting Mental Health in the Elderly

February 23 2024 - As a person ages, inevitably, this comes with a heightened risk of susceptibility to numerous health problems relating to physical fitness and well-being.

Just as important a focus, however, for older adults and elderly people, is their mental health and emotional well-being, and in an effort to readdress this balance, here are four effective methods of boosting mental health in the elderly.

1. Regular Physical Activity

First and foremost, even though at first you may not see the link between emotional health and physical activity, the two are far more closely linked than you might think.

Obviously, exercise is good for your general health, your heart, your lungs, and your energy levels, but exercising also releases certain hormones in the brain that can positively contribute to the alleviation of anxiety, low mood, and depression.

For elderly people, simple exercises such as walking around the garden or to the local mailbox every morning can have an immeasurably positive effect on how they feel, their levels of motivation, and overall mood. Furthermore, spending more time outdoors in the fresh air and nature has also been proven to hold a multitude of advantages, too.

2. Animal Interaction

It may well be that, in the case of your elderly loved one, it isn't feasible for them to adopt a dog, cat or rabbit full-time, but there are a host of other ways that they can interact and form bonds with furry friends.

When living in a care home such as, mental health is always prioritised by medical professionals and general members of staff alike, and if your older parent, for example, always reacts positively to being around animals, then the care home will likely be more than willing to accommodate animal-assisted therapy sessions.

If living at home, opting to look after a friend or neighbour's animal for the day when their owners are on holiday is also an excellent way of gaining access to animals without the full-time responsibility.

3. Creativity

Unfortunately, especially for older people, the opportunity to express themselves through art and other creative pursuits tend to diminish, especially if they're living on their own and don't have access to groups, classes, and online creativity-based resources.

A selection of creative pursuits to try in order to boost motivation and focus include, among a host of others, the following:

  • Scrapbooking
  • Creative writing
  • Learning to play a musical instrument
  • Painting and drawing
  • Crocheting, needlepoint, and knitting

4. Volunteering

For those physically able-bodied elderly people, another great way of not only boosting general levels of mood and happiness, but also enhancing perspective in terms of their position in life compared to others, is to start volunteering.

Spending just an hour or two a week helping out in a local soup kitchen or spending the morning working at a local charity shop, will enable your older loved one to gain perspective, but to also socialize and form bonds with fellow volunteers and members of the local community, too.

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