6 Mental Health Tips for Boosting Wellbeing of Seniors and People Living With a Disability
Everyone struggles with mental wellbeing now and then. When left unchecked, these struggles can lead to long-term mental health concerns that can hit really hard, especially for the elderly and people living with disabilities. Staying physically fit, mentally engaged, and socially active can help boost your mental wellbeing. Read on for other mental health-boosting tips!
In this article:
- Stick to a routine
- Keep your mind and body active
- Pick up a new hobby
- Get social at the centre
- Do some volunteer work
- Connect with family and friends
1. Stick to a routine
There are times when your mental health is as fickle as the weather. You can feel bright and sunny one day, then dim and gloomy the next. A good way to keep drastic shifts in your mental state at bay is to have a routine and stick to it. Take time to plan your day-to-day activities and keep them as regular as possible. It’s easy to feel like things are slipping away from you, but organising your day gives you a comforting sense of control.
2. Keep your mind and body active
Keeping the body active through regular exercise is vital to everyone’s physical and mental wellbeing, more so among seniors and people with disabilities. Low-impact exercises help reduce your chances of suffering from bone fractures and joint pains. Studies also show that regular exercise boosts self-confidence and reduces the symptoms of mental health conditions, like depression and anxiety.
Here are some low-impact exercises you can try right now:
- Walking or light jogging
- Strengthening exercises
- Chair exercises (if you have limited mobility)
Don’t forget, the brain may not be a muscle, but it benefits from a good work out too. If the body relies on physical exercises to stay fit, then you can keep your mind sharp with mentally stimulating activities.
These activities don’t have to be overly complicated. Reading the newspaper and finishing the crossword every morning is a great way to exercise your mind. You can also try journaling or putting together a 1000-piece puzzle; both activities stimulate your brain and sharpen your critical thinking skills.
3. Pick up a new hobby
Engaging in new activities such as painting or crocheting helps reduce your feelings of anxiety and depression. The sense of accomplishment when you’ve mastered your hobby is also a great confidence booster. Remember, your age or disability shouldn’t keep you from learning new things.
Don’t limit yourself to indoor activities and hobbies. Outdoor hobbies like gardening and fishing are also a great way to try something new and, at the same time, get some sun and fresh air.
4. Get social at the centre
A good way to secure your mental wellbeing is through socialisation. Studies prove that building and maintaining social connections reduce the severity of depression and anxiety symptoms.
Mixing and mingling with others at your local senior or neighbourhood centre is a good place to start building your social connections with other people in your community. It’s time to get to know your neighbours.
You can also ask the centre administrators about activities you can take while you are there. Most senior and recreational centres teach various classes like pottery, yoga, or basket weaving that can keep your mind active and engaged. Try enrolling in a class and see if the interactions with your peers would be fun.
5. Do some volunteer work
Finding your sense of purpose and fulfilment is also a good way to ensure your mental wellbeing. You can do this by donating your time and volunteering for a worthy cause.
There’s no shortage of causes and charities that need volunteers in Australia and New Zealand. You don’t even have to look that far—ask your local community leaders or neighbourhood centre administrators. Most organisations will take all the help they can get and are more than happy to involve people of all abilities.
Volunteering, no matter what your age or ability, is a rewarding experience. Not only is it a way for you to secure your mental health, but it’s also a tangible way to give back to your community. That in itself is time well spent.
6. Connect with family and friends
There’s a saying that goes, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” While there’s some truth to this, going too long without keeping in touch with your family and friends is not the best way to manage your mental health.
Prolonged time apart can make it difficult to maintain your social connections, especially when you’re elderly or living with a disability. This makes finding the time and means to connect with your loved ones all the more important. Being in constant communication with those you love staves off the feelings of loneliness and isolation and prevents your mental health from declining.
You’re no longer limited to meeting your family and friends in-person nowadays. In fact, staying connected over long distances is easier than ever. Apps like Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, and Google Meet allow you to check in with your family and friends from anywhere in the world. You just need to have a smart device like a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or PC and a stable internet connection to communicate with your loved ones.
When you do connect with family and friends, have a good time. Don’t limit your catch-up sessions to casual conversations. Get creative—you can play an online game with your grandkids or have a reading session with your friends.
Tunstall’s Connected Care: Promoting Connectedness in Elderly and Disability Care
At Tunstall Healthcare, we’ve designed our Connected Care solutions and personal alarms to help you live independently while still staying connected with your family and caregivers at the time you most need them—during emergencies. Having a personal alarm pendant on you at all times will empower you to live your life as independently as you desire, allowing you to safely maintain your social connections and mental wellbeing.