According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 20% of adults over the age of 60 suffer from mental or neurological disorders (“The State of Mental Health and Aging in America.”). The most common mental and neurological disorders in this age group are dementia and depression. Mental health disorders among seniors can improve through active and healthy aging. At San Diego Family Circle Adult Day Health Center, we recommend trying out activities that increase mental stimulation, maintaining physical exercising, and socializing to help decrease risks for mental health disorders.
Mental health disorders among seniors can improve significantly through activities that facilitate and encourage mental stimulation. Often, mental health issues begin when seniors don’t receive adequate mental stimulation. There is an old saying, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” This saying typically refers to muscle functionality and growth through physical exercise. Even though the brain technically isn’t a muscle, research shows the brain grows and functions much like the different muscles in our bodies (“You Can Grow Your Intelligence”). Through active mental stimulation and with time, one is able to optimize brain functions no matter the age and reduce risk for diseases such as dementia. Cognitive exercises include puzzles, memory games, and picking up new hobbies.
In losing a sense of independence comes the downfall of mental health and stability. To prevent this, we recommend seniors maintain a physical lifestyle appropriate to their capabilities. Physical exercise can help improve mobility, flexibility, balance, coordination and ultimately allow seniors to keep their independence. According to The World Health Organization, physical activity not only can reduce risks for chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes but also age-related functional decline, physical and cognitive (“Physical Activity”). Examples of physical activities for seniors can include chair yoga, walking, and water aerobics.
Socialization is important at any stage of life. Humans are said to be biologically wired to thrive through social interactions. Studies show that with a decrease in socialization comes a reduction in quality of life and longevity among seniors (“Loneliness and Social Isolation Linked to Serious Health Conditions”). The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also reports that social isolation enhances risks for premature death and correlates to an increased risk of dementia by 50%. (“Loneliness and Social Isolation Linked to Serious Health Conditions”). Regular socialization increases the quality of life among seniors and dwindles the risk of mental health disease.
There are various factors linked with mental and neurological disorders among seniors; among these are a decline in mental stimulation, physical activity, and lack of socialization. Cognitive stimulation activities promote neuroplasticity and structural growth, ultimately reducing the risk for dementia and other mental ailments. Physical activity reduces the chances of losing independence by enabling and equipping seniors to maintain control over themselves. Socialization reduces loneliness and depression. Adult Day Health Centers are a great resource to meet those needs. Adult Day Health Centers have been designed to facilitate activities for mental stimulation, physical activity, and socialization among seniors. Check out an Adult Day Health Center near you today.
“Loneliness and Social Isolation Linked to Serious Health Conditions.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 Apr. 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/aging/publications/features/lonely-older-adults.html.
“Physical Activity.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 26 Nov. 2020, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity.
“The State of Mental Health and Aging in America.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Association of Chronic Disease Directors., 2008.
“You Can Grow Your Intelligence .” Mindset Works, Inc, 2014.