Our population is aging and it is estimated that by the year 2035, the number of individuals over 65 will soar to 78 million people and for the first time ever, will outnumber those under 18 years old.
Jason Lewis is a personal trainer and owner of Strongwell, a company geared towards the health and fitness of seniors. He has written a wonderful guest article that we have posted below on Mind/Body balance, something that we here at Mindful Mixtures are very passionate about. We hope you enjoy it 🙂
Mind/Body Balance: How Seniors Can Maintain Quality of Life
Older adults go through many changes as they age, but one thing that doesn’t change is the need for active engagement, mental stimulation, and social interaction. Isolation and inactivity speed up the aging process and lead to depression and other emotional and psychological issues, which are serious problems among the elderly. In fact, it’s estimated that one in five older adults have mental health issues serious enough to require treatment of some kind. Fortunately, there are many ways seniors can stay active and motivated to enjoy their favorite pursuits.
Frailty is a common result among elderly people who live a sedentary lifestyle, which itself is a frequent symptom of depression. Physical vitality is important to one’s quality of life, no matter what age you are, which is why exercise is so necessary. It enhances mobility and balance, improves mood, and prevents disease and illnesses that can be dangerous to an older person. Exercise elevates your sense of well-being, releasing endorphins and feel-good chemicals in the brain like serotonin, which cause you to feel optimistic. There are many senior-friendly activities that can provide physical activity, like walking, swimming, or yoga, and indoor exercises like chair aerobics, tai chi, or Wii games.
Get Benefits from Your Benefits
No matter what health insurance plan you carry, you may not be taking full advantage of your coverage. After all, is an unused benefit really a benefit at all? Once you’re over the age of 65, you qualify for Medicare. In addition to providing coverage for basic medical needs, the plan offers other useful benefits, like outpatient mental health services. If you have a supplemental plan, like Medicare Advantage, you may also have access to other programs that can help maintain or improve your quality of life, like fitness programs, additional prescription benefits, vision care, and dental programs. If you want to add a supplemental plan to your insurance to get access to more benefits, the beginning of the year is a great time to do it. Plans vary by state, so check to see what coverage options are available where you live.
Loneliness and depression aren’t good for anyone; for seniors, they can be dangerous. An older adult without social interaction and regular exposure to others are apt to experience a physical and mental decline at a more rapid pace than someone who maintains personal relationships. Serious depression may increase symptoms of medical conditions that can lead to death. Loved ones often mistake signs of late-life depression for indications of dementia, in which case the root cause often goes unaddressed. Relationships provide a valuable emotional support system that helps you cope with negative thoughts and feelings and deal with stress.
Regular, restful sleep is key to good mental and physical health at every stage of life. Good sleep helps you concentrate and boosts your sense of well-being. It’s also good for the immune system and cellular health, which are particularly important factors for people as they grow older. Sleep also improves memory formation, another process that often becomes impaired as we age.
Indulging personal interests and making time for hobbies are often ignored or dismissed in American society, which emphasizes work and individual productivity. Consequently, people often move into old age without personal activities they enjoy, and which can relieve stress and keep them occupied in later years. Fill up your time with something that interests you. Do some gardening, take an art class, learn a foreign language, or join friends in a bridge or bunco club. You’ll derive both mental and physical benefits that improve your quality of life and turn long, boring days into time spent doing what you love.
Back to School
Technology makes it easy to go back to school for fun or to finish up that degree you started years ago. Online courses and degrees are commonplace these days, requiring only a computer, reliable internet connection, and the ability to interact with others via computer. It’ll keep your mind engaged, provide a stimulating intellectual challenge, and keep you busy meeting assignment deadlines and learning subject matter.
Staying engaged mentally and physically is key to maintaining a good quality of life. Remember that your mental and physical health are closely connected, so it’s important to maintain a careful balance between the two.