Seniors in long term care are more vulnerable to sadness or depression. This may be because they’re going through major life changes like declining health, loss of loved ones and limitations on visiting friends and family. Many people in long term care struggle with depression caused by a number of lifestyle factors, but does it have to be like this? Or can the way people approach older age, physically and mentally, lead to growing older with more positivity?

The third Monday in January is referred to as Blue Monday, a day where our mood can feel more on the cool side. However, here at Care Control we want to spin that colour wheel to the opposite side with some Monday Motivation! Here are our 5 top tips to help your Service Users with their mood with exercise, healthy eating, social connections, and more.

Physical health improves mental health

Growing older brings challenges, like the decline of physical strength and mobility, which can feel like a barrier to keeping fit. However, there are workarounds that enable older adults to remain active.

For example, aerobic exercise is great for brain function. For those with limited mobility, chair exercise routines are a great way to increase heart rate and strength the upper body. And a gentle walk outside will do a world of good.

What you eat affects your mood

What we put inside our bodies has an effect on our mental well-being too. Eating a well-rounded, healthy diet helps people feel better overall.

There are also some foods that can improve mood. For example, omega-3 fatty acids from fish as well as zinc and B vitamins from fruits like bananas can help improve depressive moods. And reducing foods like starchy carbs can help too.

Some older adults may feel that now is the time to throw caution to the wind and enjoy things like mid-week drinks or smoke cigarettes without the fear of dying young. The fact is that these things are bad for health and can also contribute to lower moods.

Stay connected with family and friends

Loneliness and isolation probably have the biggest impact on low moods in older people.

Too much time spent alone can have this effect on anyone at any age because humans are inherently social creatures. However, it is more common among seniors in care as adult children move away or become busy with life.

Care Control ‘Friends and Family’ has become one of the most used parts of our software as Friends, Family and Service Users have been kept apart during the Covid 19 crisis. Designed to bridge the gap between care homes and families, our family update system makes sharing memories as personal as possible.

Keep your mind engaged

Small daily actions to keep the mind engaged and active are vital.

Having a sense of purpose and goals to achieve are important to self-esteem and mental well-being. If your Service User has good mobility, activities like volunteering, tutoring, and travel are great ways to stimulate the mind and increase social interaction. Alternatively, reading, writing and mental puzzles are fun and don’t require much energy to do if physical ability is a barrier.

Practice a positive attitude

It’s difficult to simply “think happy thoughts,” especially if your older adult is experiencing pain or isolation. But the fact remains that we do need to practice certain thought patterns in order for them to become routine.

Encourage your Service User to practice gratitude and surround themselves with people who builds their positivity. Being optimistic, making exciting plans, turning around negative thought spirals, keeping a sense of humour, and reducing stress will all help them experience life more positively.

Resources:
Tips and Help for Caregivers – DailyCaring