Why Is Mental Health as Important as Physical Health for Seniors?
With advancements in medical research on mental health, discoveries made by health professionals claim that it is necessary to take care of mental health, as there is a strong connection between the mind and body. A balanced focus on both physical and psychological health is essential if you wish to live a complete and active life.
Mental health consists of cognitive, emotional, and social well-being. Mental health also affects people in making decisions and dealing with stressful situations, which is why positive mental health is emphasized by health professionals all around the world.
With progressing age, seniors often find it challenging to maintain a steady mood and suffer from low energy level that consequently leads to low self-esteem and depression. Many people believe that seniors are incapable of preventing a decline in their cognitive abilities. However, scientific research denies this and offers remedies that help in keeping the mind alert and healthy. Mental health plays a pivotal role in a senior citizen’s overall wellbeing, apart from their physical condition.
As an individual gets older, there is shrinkage in some areas of the brain, mainly the parts that are associated with learning and challenging mental activities. It is essential to exercise the brain by keeping it occupied and active during old age. Acquiring new abilities is an effective way to strengthen the mind. Continuous learning is known to enhance memory by preventing the brain cells from diminishing as they are always active and in communication with one another.
Seniors who take part in mentally stimulating activities are more likely to lower their risk of developing complications regarding their thinking and memory. Once an individual engages in a mental exercise, it increases the circulation of blood and oxygen to the brain. By increasing mental stimulation, it is possible to delay cognitive decline. Cognition means the ability to think; therefore, cognitive decline is the gradual process of the deterioration of the brain’s ability to process thoughts according to the average speed and capacity. It occurs as an individual gets older. Loss of memory in senior citizens is colligated with dementia. Dementia depicts various symptoms that indicate a reduction in overall memory and impairs the ability of an individual to think clearly, which consequently leads to an inability to execute routine activities.
Research suggests that engaging in activities that stimulate an individual mentally decreases the risk of dementia by 46%. It shows that the risk of dementia can indeed be controlled in old age by continuous mental stimulation. Mental stimulation is known to enhance the overall living conditions of an individual, especially in the case of seniors. Mental activities improve the abstract thought process, overall memory capacity, and the mental strength to continue learning.
Many exciting activities can help stimulate brain activity, such as:
Playing word games is an efficient and fun approach to connect with the brain. For seniors, puzzles aid in the amelioration of memory, recalling words and also aides in improving other tasks in the brain. Language exercises will provoke your capacity to perceive, remember, and understand the context of the words. It is an exciting way to keep occupied and to stimulate one’s brain. Popular word games include scrabble, text twist, and word blur. The most engaging word game is known as crossword puzzles, which are found in newspapers and are quite entertaining. Word games additionally improve an individual's eloquence and linguistic aptitudes. By rehearsing language and word games day by day, you can extend your insight into new words substantially and build a more extensive vocabulary.
Learning new skills
Another way to improve the functioning of your brain is by continuously learning new skills. It can include a wide array of activities that an individual has previously not practiced. Learning new skills may even involve traveling around the world and exploring various cultures and cuisines around the globe. It can also include taking up an instrument and practice playing it or starting a new hobby such as knitting or photography. Learning new skills enhances neuronal connections and creates new ones. Learning a skill may seem difficult in the beginning; however, if an individual continuously strives to learn, positive results are bound to appear with time and practice.
A healthy lifestyle is vital to the overall wellbeing of any individual. Apart from having a balanced diet, adequate sleep time, and controlling stress, it is crucial to be physically active. Though senior citizens have problems with rigorous exercise routines, they can, however, practice physical exertion from activities such as walking, yoga, or mild exercise such as stretching. Physical exercise is very beneficial as it results in the discharge of endorphins inside the brain. These endorphins can elevate an individual’s mood, improve appetite, and enhance their overall feelings.
Chess & Strategy Games
Another way to stimulate the mind is to engage in games like checkers and chess, particularly chess, as it is known to stimulate various areas inside the brain that are used for education. A study concludes that playing chess aids in improving the IQ of an individual, precludes the possibility of the person from falling victim to diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s, exerts all two sides of the brain, improves an individual’s creativity, assists in enhancing the individual’s memory and skills that contribute to decision making.
Reading is quite beneficial for people of all ages, especially young children and senior citizens. It helps in keeping the brain alert and facilitating to improve an individual’s creativity and imagination. Reading not only helps an individual to be entertained and gain new knowledge, but it also aids in enhancing an array of cognitive roles inside the brain. Reading enables the brain to form an image of what the person is reading, resulting in a vivid imagination while exercising the mind at the same time. Scientific studies also claim that reading results in lower blood pressure, which results in a relaxed feeling experienced by the individual.