Getting older can be a lonely (and anxiety-inducing) process. As senior citizens assume their newfound roles as spiritual guides and untapped wisdom wells, elderly patients’ declining mental health finds its new home on the political backburner.
In today’s day and age, mental health stands at the forefront of public conversation, as mental health professionals and millennials grapple with mental illness knocking at 20-something’s front doors. Yet, these discussions so often exclude anxiety-ridden senior citizens.
As we age, we may succumb to feelings of sadness or depression, wishing we were back in the “good old days.” While reminiscing can soothe the sting of aging, obsessing over the past can be detrimental. For starters, eyes glued to life’s rearview mirror can inhibit elderly family members from living in the present and taking advantage of what life they have left. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure that your family members live out their remaining years with a newfound zeal for life’s twists and turns.
A large issue hindering senior citizens from reaching their full potential is being ashamed about declining mobility and cognitive function. With mobility aids like upright walkers, your elderly loved ones can gain the confidence they need to face the world. Better posture, steadiness, and style will also help the elderly thrive in their age.
Whether it is virtual or in person, connecting with elderly loved ones is an impactful way to show them that you care. Planning a weekly game night or going on a walk will give you the chance to build your relationship continuously. These opportunities to make life-long memories will allow you to form an unbreakable bond and give your elderly family members something to look forward to each week.
Encouraging your elderly loved ones to send an email to an old friend or take the time to offer insight into the physical benefits of video chatting will work wonders in improving their mental health. Because it’s crucial to remain social in all phases of life, cheer on your grandparents or aging parents when they venture outside of their comfort zones.
Just because it is more challenging to stay in touch as people grow older and go their separate ways doesn’t mean that being a reliable friend is no longer a valuable skill. That said, motivate your elderly loved ones to take the initiative. By reaching out and spending one-on-one time with friends, Grandma or Grandpa can reclaim their lives from depression. In most cases, these coffee dates and morning strolls will be just what these seniors need to pull themselves out of this crushing emotional rut.
Keeping the body moving is something that improves moods and boosts morale at any age. Playing their favorite sport or exercising with an elderly loved one will reassure anxiety-ridden seniors that their body is still physically capable. Not to mention, exercising will reduce stress and can even improve the immune system, allowing seniors to lead long, fulfilling lives.
Volunteering and giving back helps elderly loved ones enjoy a renewed sense of purpose. Accomplishing these community service projects also provides an opportunity to find a common philanthropic ground. As you positively impact your community, you’ll likely notice you and your elderly loved one growing closer together.
Continuing to thrive in old age can be a daunting and emotionally taxing process. However, by taking the time to improve your elderly family member’s quality of life, you will see what a crucial impact you make. Additionally, as you coach your elderly loved one through the trials of aging, you’ll likely gain essential skills sure to come in handy in your golden years.
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