Though most seniors are in good mental health, many are at risk of developing neurological and mental health disorders, especially dementia and depression. The good news is that regardless of your age, there are proactive steps you can take to keep your brain healthy and reduce your risk of developing dementia, depression, or other mental conditions.
Maintain physical fitness and a healthy diet
An active, healthy body is critical in maintaining an active, healthy mind. In fact, recent Alzheimer’s research suggests that making certain lifestyle changes can do more to ward off memory loss than drugs or medical treatments. Eating a balanced, healthy diet, and enjoying physical activity such as walks or group exercise classes is a key way to maximize brain function and improve overall health.
Learn something new
Taking on a new hobby or skill can improve both cognitive functioning and your sense of well-being as you age. Learning a foreign language, for example, is a process of listening and internalizing new sounds which stimulates the brain. The same goes for new artistic or athletic pursuits – whether it’s cooking, painting, tennis, a musical instrument you’ve always wanted to learn – cultivating a new hobby is an excellent way to keep your mind active and learning.
Keep stress under control
Chronic stress can wreak havoc on both the mind and the body, especially as we age. Though it is not always easy to let go of worries, fears, or responsibilities, it is important to make time each day to relax and reflect. Whether meditation, exercise, spending time with an animal (such as through Seniors At Home’s Canine Corps), or treating yourself to a spa treatment makes you feel at ease, taking active steps to reduce stress will help you ward off depression and other mental health concerns such as anxiety or substance abuse.
Tip #1 – Poorly lit spaces can lead to falls. While lighting your home, do not overload power sockets or extension cords.
Tip #2 – Easily reduce the risk of laundry fire. Never dry object containing foam, rubber or plastic – this included shoes and rugs or bathmats with rubber.
Tip #3 – Ensure healthy eating with food safety. If you are not sure whether a food is safe to eat (perhaps it’s missing an expiration date, or you can’t remember for how long it has been out of the fridge), it’s best to throw it away.
Tip #4 – Be aware that seniors are easy targets for all types of scam artists and con men. Familiarize yourself with types of scams and financial abuse, and learn the warning signs.