Staying Okay: Mental Health and Ageing
For many Australians, their older years are their “golden years” – the best time of their lives when the pace of everyday life slows down considerably and they have much more time to travel, enjoy the company of loved ones and to generally indulge in those little luxuries which we either cannot afford or don’t have time to pursue when we’re younger.
However life’s ups and downs are inevitable and require a proactive approach on our behalf to keep our retirement years as golden as they can be. This is especially true for those of us living in aged care. As we advance into our senior years, maintaining relationships with friends and loved ones can become more difficult due to differences in age, living circumstances and physical distances, therefore the importance of improving our mental health into old age cannot be underestimated.
Mental health and ageing: Maintaining a sound mind in your senior years
With the importance of maintaining a healthy mind and body well known, the question is how can you improve your mental health into your advanced years, so you continue to get the most out of life? With lack of exercise, poor diet, lack of purpose and social isolation being key contributing factors to a variety of physical and mental health issues, the remedies are relatively straightforward. Achieving sound mental health with advanced age requires regular physical exercise, engaging in meaningful and regular activity (such as volunteering where practical, playing boards games etc.) whilst maintaining your important social relationships according to advice from National Seniors Australia. Practical mental health tips for those living in aged care facilities into their advanced years includes the following:
- Maintain a healthy diet which includes plenty of fresh water and unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes.
- Exercise regularly, at least 30 minutes each day, which may include walking, jogging (if your fitness allows) or even playing a short game of golf or another of your favourite sports – exercising with others is even better. Be sure to consult your doctor first before engaging in any strenuous physical activity to prevent avoidable injury.
- Engage in meaningful activities as much as your health allows, such as volunteering for a local community group, helping your grandchildren with their studies or writing etc.
- Maintain your important social relationships, whether that is regular catch-ups with your partner, family and friends and ensure the lines of communication remain open. If you do experience isolation or loneliness, then joining local community groups or activities in your aged care facility are good ways to overcome this problem.
For more information on Japara, our range of word-class aged care facilities and our high quality aged care services, please visit us at japara.com.au or call us today on (03) 9649 2100 for a friendly chat with one our staff.