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5 Things that Can Stave Off Depression in Older Adults

By Mark Schmidt, 9:00 am on December 9, 2019

Depression is a condition that affects the way seniors feel, think, and act. The disorder could damage relationships and prevent older adults from staying healthy. To boost your senior loved one’s mental and emotional health and lower the odds of depression, your family should promote the lifestyle changes mentioned below.

1. Exercise

Working out the muscles and mind can keep endorphins pumping throughout the body. These feel-good hormones fight against cortisol, adrenaline, and other stress hormones that increase the risk of depression. Mindful meditation exercises can calm the nerves and reduce anxiety. Make sure to choose physical activities your parent can do, and avoid exercises that cause confusion and frustration. The objective is to ease your loved one’s mind and enhance his or her wellbeing.

The best physical and mental exercises for older adults include:

• Walking
• Yoga
• Brain games
• Cycling
• Tai chi
• Dancing 

Tucson homecare service experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

2. Healthy Diet

The foods your loved one eats could impact his or her mental and emotional health and affect his or her energy levels. For example, leafy greens and fresh fruits contain antioxidants that raise metabolism and fight against free radicals in the brain, which can help your loved one have more energy and feel inclined to move around and try new activities. Protein-rich foods such as tuna, turkey, and chicken can enhance mental clarity and give your loved one a boost of energy.

3. Socializing

Isolation is one of the most significant risk factors associated with depression. Seniors who experience mobility and language challenges, memory loss, and incontinence problems could withdraw from family and friends. Isolating themselves from others increases feelings of boredom and loneliness, which can lead to depression as well as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and poor immune function. Encourage your loved one to join senior-friendly groups to stay socially active and prevent depression.

For families living in Tucson, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.

4. Sunlight Exposure

Vitamin D has many benefits, which include managing chronic conditions and lowering stress levels. Merely being outdoors and taking in the fresh air could boost your loved one’s mood and increase happiness. The sensory stimulation from being in nature can strengthen cognition and boost emotional wellbeing. For safe sun exposure, make sure your loved one wears protective clothing and stays hydrated while outdoors.

5. Purposeful Activities

Aging and losing some of their cognitive abilities and motor skills can be depressing for older adults, which is why family caregivers need to find meaningful tasks and hobbies to keep their loved ones busy. Doing something productive could enhance your loved one’s mood and lower his or her stress levels. If some daily tasks are more challenging than others, look for ways to simplify these activities. For example, if cooking is difficult due to a condition such as Parkinson’s or dementia, ask your loved one to help with preparing the table or choosing the menu. Sharing his or her input can give your parent a sense of purpose. 

Elderly home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. For reliable in-home care services, contact us at (520) 276-6555 today.