Emotional health is important for people in all age groups, especially the elderly. Learn how to improve emotional health in seniors.

When people grow older, the focus is more on the medicines they take for high blood pressure, heart, back pain or neck pain. It is the physical health that takes the centre stage. Emotional health, which is being in tune with own emotions, is equally important. As people grow, their children leave the nest. They also start losing their friends and so, the elderly often have to deal with loneliness. If emotional health is good then they can cope with both positive and negative emotions. We tell you how to boost emotional health in seniors.

What is emotional health?

Emotional health consists of less distress, coping mechanisms for dealing with problems, and to maintain a positive self-concept and positive outlook overall. It is about our sense of well-being and our ability to cope with life events and also the way in which we acknowledge our own emotions as well as those of others, explains psychologist Dr Ruchi Jain. But having good emotional health doesn’t imply that the person is happy constantly or is free from negative emotions. It is actually about being equipped with skills to self-regulate emotions in a healthy manner.

Sad elderly woman sitting on a sofa
Emotional health of elderly people should not be neglected. Image courtesy: Freepik

What are the ways to boost emotional health of elderly people?

Senior citizens have a lot of worries about issues related with personal safety and life in general. So, it is important to create a safe and comfortable environment for seniors to lead their lives without fear and cultivate positive social relationships with family, friends, and others in the community in order to enhance their emotional wellness.

Here’s how to improve emotional health in elderly:

1. Social connection

Social connection should be established at most times, says the expert. Regular social interactions can help them overcome loneliness and isolation. Make regular family visits, encourage them to participate in community events, or connect via video call. You can also go for holidays together.

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2. Physical activity is a must

Consult with a doctor and fitness trainer regarding physical activities for your senior family member. Yoga or walk can help to boost mood and overall well-being. If they join a walking group or a yoga class, it can help them with social interaction too.

3. Mindfulness

Mindfulness, a practice which involves bringing one’s attention to the present moment, can be good for the elderly. Mindful rhythmic breathing, and meditation are some of the techniques that can help in boosting emotional health in seniors. The focus should only be on thoughts in the present moment. Worrying about the past or the future will not help.

Elderly woman meditating
Meditation can help in boosting emotional health in seniors. Image courtesy: Freepik

4. Hobbies

Old hobbies like gardening or knitting should be resumed. This reinforces a sense of purpose as well as satisfaction, says Dr Jain.

5. Healthy diet

It is the key to good health, so encourage your senior family member to opt for a balanced diet rich. This can positively impact mood and cognitive function.

6. Cognitive stimulation

Mentally stimulating activities such as sudoku and puzzles can be played by senior citizens. These can help to maintain cognitive functioning and mental alertness.

7. Explore expressive outlets

If writing is not a problem, journalling can be done. Gratitude journalling can be maintained for emotional release and self-reflection.

8. Encourage help-seeking

An environment should be created where the elderly feel comfortable in seeking emotional support. They should be able to reach out to their family and friends.

Make sure the seniors in your life have good emotional health. After all, it is a key part of an overall sense of well-being.

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