It starts taking us longer to learn new things, our vision and hearing may not be as good, and we aren’t able to remember details as quickly as we once were.
Though these changes can be irritating, they need not stop us from growing intellectually and staying strong mentally. Here’s how.
Exercise Your Body
Maintaining a healthy body is perhaps the most important thing seniors can do to maintain their mental health. Regular physical activity improves memory, mental ability, and happiness and even prevents dementia. You don’t have to spend hours in the gym doing sit ups; just have fun doing something. Swimming, dancing, walking with your friends, staying sexually active—all of these can help you stay fit and mentally sharp.
Exercise Your Brain
In addition to exercising your body, try some brain exercises. There are millions of them ranging from simply solving a puzzle to learning a new skill. You can read something challenging or better yet write something yourself. Or you can make it a goal to do something new every day. Whether that’s cooking a new recipe or taking a new path to an old destination, even these small changes can keep your brain active.
Again, a healthy body supports a healthy mind. So eat your fruits and veggies. If you’re eating for your brain, you’ll specifically want more of vitamins B, C and E. Vitamin B keeps your cells healthy. It can be found in spinach, asparagus, cereals, strawberries, and beans. Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that prevent cell damage and are thought to prevent dementia (although this hasn’t been proven). Vitamin C, as you probably know, can be found in oranges, grapefruits, blackcurrants and a variety of other fruits/vegetables. Vitamin E is found in nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.
Staying socially and emotionally connected to the world around you will keep your mind young. If you can, try to spend more time with your friends and family. Or find new social opportunities. One that’s often overlooked is volunteering. There are plenty of opportunities available with the Senior Corps, including foster grandparenting.
If you’re a spiritual person, keep it up. Religious communities provide yet another way to be social, and faith can help you confront the challenges of aging. A common principal encouraged by every religion (at least to my knowledge) is thankfulness. And it can be practiced by the non- spiritual as well. Simply counting your blessings will help you keep a happy, healthy mind.
Austin Sheeley is a senior health blogger for home medical supplies store JustHomeMedical.com. He hopes to help seniors stay active both physically and mentally.