Tips for Maintaining Mental Wellness into the Later Adult and Senior Years
leHealthy habits for seniors has become a very important topic these days. Maybe that’s because everyone wants longevity. But old age presents its own set of challenges and good health during this phase of life isn’t guaranteed. But that isn’t saying wellness and happiness are absent from the senior years.
Healthy aging is possible. And since all of us will become seniors someday, we must start practicing healthy habits early.
At Novum Psychiatry, we’re dedicated to promoting healthy living for seniors. That’s why this post focuses on practical mental health tips for seniors.
How Can We Maintain Mental Health in Old Age?
All of us will ask this question at some point down the road, but it’s best to start practicing healthy living at younger ages to maintain it throughout senior life.
Sure, staying healthy and vibrant is somewhat easier for a younger person. But who says you can’t be physically and mentally healthy at 70?
We’ve all seen 60-year-olds who look 40-something. What’s their secret? How do they manage to stay sharp when the world expects them to be frail and forgetful? We want you to be healthy and happy in every aspect of your life. That being said, we focus mainly on mental health issues.
To stay mentally healthy and sharp, be ready to unlearn almost everything you know about old age. Prepare your mind to reject every baseless myth about old age that lodges there. The following 3 myths are standing in the way of your mental health.
1. Old age and memory loss always happen together.
2. Growing old signals bad and deteriorating health.
3. Old folks can’t learn new things or unlearn old ones.
We’ll debunk these myths and set you on the path to improved mental agility.
Myth #1: Old Age Always Comes with Memory Loss
Admittedly, older people may have a little trouble remembering things. But there’s no evidence that old age always comes with appreciable memory loss.
In fact, memory can be improved at any age. Harvard Medical School revealed at least seven effective ways people can keep their memory sharp at any age. According to them, life-long learning combined with the use of one’s senses is one way to stay sharp.
They also advised seniors to use their brains as though it were a scarce resource. Why struggle to remember things when you have calendars, shopping lists, planners, address books, and maps?
Placing stuff you use often in the same spot each time is also advisable. It’s another great way to avoid needing to remember too many things.
Making mnemonics is yet another way to remember things without struggling much. Like the familiar music enthusiast’s mnemonic: Every Good Boy Does Fine. You probably don’t need to remember musical notes, but you can certainly make mnemonics for other aspects of your life.
Also, leverage repetition. Repeat things you want to remember and they’ll stick. You can also ask others to confirm whether you heard them right. Did you say X and Y?
Finally, ignore all negative stereotypes about growing old. When you hear negative messages all the time, you tend to believe them. And aren’t we all a product of our thoughts?
Seniors do better on memory tasks if they’re constantly exposed to positive messages relating to aging and memory. So, believe in yourself. Don’t believe any negative thing you hear about being a senior and memory loss.
But these aren’t the only healthy habits for seniors you should embrace.
Myth #2: Seniors Should be Ready for Increased Ill Health
Admittedly, certain diseases are more common in old age than they are in earlier phases of life. But is it really true that being old equates to being unwell the whole time? The answer is a resounding no. This is another myth you must unlearn if you want to enjoy robust mental health.
Lots of older folks out there today enjoy much better health than many 40-yeard-olds. But that’s rarely a result of sheer accident. These people are fully in charge of their lives. They’ve put in place various preventive measures such as exercising, enlightened eating habits, and effective stress management.
These measures help them dramatically reduce the chances that they might get a chronic disease. You won’t spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair, but you must start taking action now.
Myth #3: You’re Old; You Can’t Learn New Things
Everyone believes old dogs can’t be taught new tricks. That’s a myth. The elderly can learn new stuff and invigorate their brains in many ways. It’s about time people stopped viewing old age as something undesirable that stands in the way of personal growth.
You Can Learn New Things and Strengthen Your Brain
Colonel Sanders wasn’t young when he went into the fast-food business. Was he a business guru? No! He was in his 60s, and he’d failed at so many things before. Did he learn new “tricks?” We all know he did. Motivational speakers love mentioning Mr. Sander’s name to encourage the not-so-young that they, too, can have success.
This shows that you can change your thoughts about anything you want. You can also embrace new ideas and learn things you’ve never thought of your entire life. Things like mastering a musical instrument. Or writing a book. Or even motivational speaking.
Remember, Experience and Wisdom Back You UP
You’re older than most people and you’re also wiser. You’ve accumulated a ton of experience along the way. Learning new stuff should actually be easier for you than for younger, inexperienced people.
As you learn and unlearn things, you’re strengthening your mind pretty much like what exercising does for your muscles. You’ll end up healthier and sharper.
So, start practicing all the healthy habits for seniors we’ve described above. Change how you look at old age, and you’ll transform your world.
Need Specific Advice for Improving Your Mental Health?
Are you looking for practical advice on how to boost your mental health and have a healthier, happier life? Talk to us. We exist to help children, middle-aged people, and seniors resuscitate and maintain their mental health.
Want to learn more about healthy habits for seniors? Schedule an appointment now.