Almost 50% of people in the UK aged 55 or older have some form of depression, according to the NHS.
Symptoms of depression are sometimes triggered by other chronic illnesses — including cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease, while widowhood can also cause the development of this condition.
Remaining positive is important for seniors, as doing so is a buffer against loss and helps them adapt to changing circumstances. To boost this quality, the following 3 tips may help.
3 Top Tips
1. Taking part in physical activity
Research undertaken in 2020 at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center showed that seniors who took part in group exercise classes decreased negative feelings like loneliness while reducing their social isolation. Exercise is a mood booster but also a good way to connect with others. Exercise can also help seniors stay strong and flexible, reduce their risk of falls, and reduce stress levels. Many studies have been carried out on specific forms of exercise, with positive results for most — including Tai Chi, yoga, and stationary biking.
2. Harnessing the power of soothing massage
Massage therapy is used in many settings to reduce pain in patients with cancer, fibromyalgia, and lower back pain. However, it also has an immediate effect on mood — as found in a study on advanced cancer patients at 15 hospices. The study showed that massage is a safe and effective way to provide immediate relief. Massage releases endorphins and creates a positive experience that distracts people from pain and depression. Today, seniors have many options when it comes to massage — including therapeutic massage and at-home massage. Battery-powered massagers used by therapists can also be used at home to improve pain, boost blood circulation, improve focus, and even improve sleep.
3. Trying out creative persuits
It is well known that hobbies and creative activities can keep stress levels low and create a more positive state in those who partake in them. Two University of Missouri studies showed that seniors who participated in dance therapy improved their gait and balance but also had a lot of fun while doing so. The researchers found that many seniors were eager to participate in dance sessions and continue to come back owing to positive enjoyment. Dance has the added bonus of improving walking speed and balance, which can also help reduce the risk of falls. Art therapy, meanwhile, is another enjoyable activity that is commonly used for seniors who have trauma or illnesses such as Alzheimer’s. Art provides seniors with a way to express themselves and communicate, thereby helping them release suppressed emotions and feel a greater sense of connection with others (in group art sessions) and the art therapist.
Even seniors who are physically healthy should prioritise ways to maintain or improve their mental health. Depression can stop them from engaging in healthy behaviours that can enhance their quality and quantity of life. Just a few ways seniors can boost their mood are exercise, massage, and creative pursuits. Ideally, seniors should embrace various means through which to connect to others and enjoy life more.