This list of tips will help to protect mental health in the elderly, provided that the senior is in good to fair mental health to begin with. There are some conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, which may for the most part be out of our control.
- The first thing to do is to make sure that the senior isn't already suffering from some type of mental illness. If they are having drastic mood swings, are unusually forgetful, or very depressed, they should go to see a mental health doctor, one who specializes in seniors.
- If they have a history of alcoholism, drug use, or have undergone some devastating life changes, then those things should be investigated by a mental health professional. This is to make sure that those issues have been addressed and are in the past. If they have not been addressed, they can become an issue again later in life.
- The most important things for a senior, as with anyone else, are good nutrition and exercise. This will keep the body working for them and not against them. It's difficult to enjoy gardening, for example, if bending is causing a lot of pain. Keeping the body limber is very important. This will also help with conditions and illnesses that may affect the senior. A body that's in good shape to start with has a much better chance of fighting off what is ailing it. It's hard to be happy when you're sick and in pain.
- As people start to age they almost always start to lose things. They may lose their mates and other family members. They may lose the house they raised their families in, along with other possessions. As we get older our world starts to shrink, and as we lose these things, we begin to feel that we have no control over our own lives. It is therefore very important that the senior stills feels that they have control over themselves and the important things in their lives.
- One of the ways that they can maintain control is to keep active and to be involved with others. This also prevents loneliness. It is a good idea for a senior to be involved with their local nursing homes, where they can volunteer to help with activities or just visit. If they prefer they can offer their services to a local school.
- Keeping up with world events keeps them in touch with the rest of the world and keeps them feeling connected. Younger family, friends or neighbors could even benefit from visits by engaging in discussions about what's in the news.
- The main thing is to keep moving, learning, thinking, and not to be isolated. It is possible to reach 100 and to still be a vital contributing member of society, but like anything else, it takes a little bit of effort. In this case it's well worth it!