The Importance of Mental and Physical Health in Senior Citizens
By Jason Lewis
Getting older can be beautiful and scary at the same time. As we age, we become more susceptible to mental and physical illnesses. As a senior, the importance of mental and physical health should not be lost on you. In fact, keeping your health in check can have numerous benefits – such as keeping you alive, healthy, happy, independent, and social longer than anticipated.
Ignoring your mental and physical health can be extremely dangerous, leading to serious mental disorders, such as depression and alcohol addiction, plus physical decline in a short period of time. Just an hour or two of focus each day can change everything, including your outlook on life. The five following benefits are associated with mental and physical health as a senior.
It lowers the risk of mental illness.
According to the World Health Organization, the risks associated with aging include neuropsychiatric and emotional disorders. About fifteen percent of adults over the age of sixty suffer from a mental illness. Maintaining your physical and emotional health on a regular basis will significantly lower this risk – keeping you healthy and happy for far longer than expected. Start with a daily walk or aerobics. You can also choose to see a counselor. All of these things will make a major difference in your future mental health.
Learn more about the symptoms of mental illness in older adults through A Place For Mom.
It increases overall life expectancy.
It’s not exactly a secret. The healthier you are, the longer you’ll live. Take the time to focus on your mental and physical health now, and you’ll have a longer future to enjoy. It may help to cater your exercises toward your hobbies. Do you enjoy swimming or nature? Do you have a friend that would like to exercise with you? Making physical exercise part of your day-to-day life will vastly improve your life expectancy and your daily happiness.
It decreases the need for a nursing home or retirement community.
The longer you stay happy and healthy, the longer you’ll be able to stay in your own home. Many senior citizens have no interest in leaving their place of residence – whether they’ve been there for five years, ten years, or even longer. Moving can be frustrating and cutting down on belongings can be difficult. Push the idea of a nursing home further into your future (or out of your mind) by putting an emphasis on physical and emotional health.
It encourages positive social behavior.
Have you been feeling lonely lately? Being active (both mentally and physically) can help improve your social skills, especially if you exercise in the same place each day. You’ll become familiar with the employees or residents around you, and you’ll also become closer to those who exercise with you. Join an aerobics class or choose a comfortable mall for walking each day. Positive social behavior can encourage stronger emotional health.
It stimulates the need for independence.
Do you value your independence? Many senior citizens do. Focusing on your mental and physical health will stimulate your need for independence, keeping you active and improving your outlook on life. It will also keep members of your family from assuming you can’t take care of yourself, should you choose to continue doing so. CreateAbility’s Independence Keeper can also provide support for you or your loved ones wherever they call home.
The more you know, the better your chances of maintaining a healthy present and future. Educate yourself on mental and physical health, in addition to finding new ways to grow. You’ll be glad you did.
For more information:
Find more ways to boost your mental health and well-being through Everyday Health.
Jason Lewis offers more information about mental health and aging at Life Senior Services.