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5 Lifestyle Factors Affecting Seniors' Mental Health

Hassan Khan Yousafzai - September 06, 2018 12:18 PM

Mental health conditions in elderly people are not always a result of genetics or of aging. Some people tend to think that all of the mental problems in old age are caused by growing old but the truth is that a number of lifestyle factors contribute towards the mental health of all people—young and old alike. Here are 5 of those factors which can affect our seniors’ mental health.

1.    Meditation and Exercise

Meditation, circular breathing, and all related techniques are not a bunch of modern trends, they are age-old reliable coping mechanisms for people with mental health problems or for those who have to deal with stress on a regular basis. And there is hardly anyone in the world who doesn’t know the importance of exercising regularly.
The importance of meditating and exercising only increases with old age as meditation helps keep stress and mood in balance while exercise not only aids in physical health but it also promotes sound sleep and prevents a bunch of mental illnesses such as depression (which is one of the most common mental illness especially in seniors).

2.    Diet and Nutrition

An older person’s diet greatly affects their physical health; which in turn has a huge impact on their mental health. This factor encompasses good quality, healthy, and nutritious food as well as supplements and proper hydration throughout the day. Studies have shown that physically healthy elderly people have a lower chance of developing mental illnesses than those who have compromised physical health. That is why seniors need a nutritionist and a healthy diet plan to ensure their physical and mental well-being.

Six to eight glasses of water or clear fluids throughout the day ensure optimal organ function, multiple servings of low-fat food including fruits, vegetables, and dairy, as well as nutritional supplements to fill in any gaps left by the food are what experts recommend. Research also suggests that healthy fats like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can improve mood and boost brain power.

3.    Healthy Sleep

It is no secret that sleeping habits affect the overall quality of life of a person, as well as the way a person feels. Most experts always recommend somewhere between eight to nine hours of sleep a day especially for people older than 65 years of age. It is a common misconception that people don’t need as much sleep in their old age as they do when they’re young and in their prime. Sleep deprivation in older people can take too heavy a toll on their mental health and make them cranky and irritable whereas a healthy amount of sleep obtained through proper night sleeping and naps throughout the day can ensure the good mental health and stabilize moods and emotions.

4.    Familial Relations

Familial relations and environment play a huge role in the mental health of seniors. Familial support and positive non-toxic familial bonds can bring peace and joy to people in their old age, however, abusive or toxic familial environments can bring stress, depression, anxiety, and a number of other mental problems. Abuse, or histories of abuse, can cause problems like PTSD.

5.    Social and Community Activities

It is a fact that isolated people are more likely to struggle with mental health issues. Social interaction, support, and community activities have been found to help in reducing stress, prevent depression, and also help cognitive functioning. Older people, if they are not participating in social and community activities are likely to develop mental illnesses because they’ll have a lot of time to over-think their past, present, and future. The key is to find a level at which they are comfortable socializing with different groups of people or just a couple of like-minded friends they can spend time with and talk to.

The lifestyle of older people has evolved nowadays but the 5 lifestyle factors listed here are never-changing and all-important and play their individual parts in the mental health of elder people.

This guest post was written by Hassan Khan Yousafzai, he is passionate about Digital marketing. Along with educational background in Software Engineering he is bridging gap between marketing and development department. At Techvando, he has been consulting brands all over Pakistan to gain online traffic and profitable leads.

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