According to research, most mental disorder prevention efforts have focused on children and young adults in order to ensure a positive start of their lives. This left older adults to battle their mental health issues and try to minimize their effects. However, there are things you can do to help prevent mental disorders in older adults as well.
A healthy lifestyle can keep various mental health issues in check, both in adulthood and in senior years. So, if you’re a smoker, try to ditch cigarettes and replace this harmful habit with something beneficial like exercise or a fun hobby. Keeping your body hydrated is also very important and something many seniors struggle with. Try to keep a bottle of water on your desk, nightstand or coffee table and you’ll reach for it more often.
Many seniors don’t practice good diet which can lead to vitamin and mineral deficit that affects their mental health. According to research, if you want to help prevent mental health issues, make sure to eat plenty of foods rich in vitamin D that can help keep depression at bay. Vitamin B12 is also crucial because it boosts your energy levels and allows you to engage in many various physical and social activities that will ensure you feel fulfilled and stable.
While there are plenty of research studies that state that physical activity improves mood, not many people know the benefits of exercise on prevention of mental disorders and promotion of good mental health. Since exercise boosts the production of feel-good chemicals, it can be useful in helping prevent mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Exercise can also help prevent the development of many other health issues (diabetes, cardiovascular problems and chronic pain) which can affect people’s feeling of wellbeing. Older adults are recommended around 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week (brisk walking, light jogging, swimming, dancing or cycling).
Older adults that maintain strong family or social relationships report better mental health results than those who lack a good network of supportive people. So, make sure to maintain contact with supportive friends and family members or join a club, class or support group where you can meet new people. Another thing you can do in order to get your daily dose of social contact is to move to a respectable aged care facility that offers plenty of opportunities for intergenerational communication and freedom to develop new relationships. These facilities also offer 24/7 medical care as well as counsellors and trained chefs and nutritionists. There you can find all that you need to keep your mental health in top shape.
Routines create a feeling of safety and efficiency, but a slight change of pace can do plenty of good for your mental health. So, try to hit a different store for groceries, take a walk in a different park, try a new restaurant or rearrange your home.
Older adults of today are high users of psychotherapy and the demand for non-pharmacological treatment and prevention is constantly growing. While psychotherapy is very effective in treatment, not many people use it as a preventive measure even though research shows good results. Most psychotherapy studies target dysfunctional thoughts and aim to change negative behaviours. Since a therapist serves as an instructor and teaches useful skills in battling depression, people can use their newly-acquired knowledge to change their lives and point their mental health in the right direction.
PROPER MEDICAL TRAINING
Another step we can take as a society is to train medical staff and health providers to meet the needs of older adults. Proper training in the field of age-associated chronic diseases, both physical and mental, as well as the development of age-friendly services, can be very useful in mental disorder prevention.
If we tend to see our doctors regularly and take preventive measures to ensure everything is good with our physical health, we can do the same with mental health. This can reduce the effects and costs of curing the symptoms once they occur (if they occur) and ensure a happier and healthier life.
If you are concerned about your mental health or wellbeing, please seek professional advice.
Author Bio – Diana Smith is a full-time mom of two beautiful girls interested in topics related to health and alternative medicine. In her free time, she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.