4 Activities That Can Help Seniors Maintain Positive Mental Health in Assisted Living
How Can Assisted Living Affect Mental Health?
Making the transition from being an independent homeowner to living in an assisted living facility can be tough. As a senior, it’s important for you to maintain some form of independence in your life. Moving into assisted living can make you feel like you’re giving up the majority of your freedom, and that’s not easy for anyone to take.
Sometimes, this transition can make you feel like giving up. In turn, you may shut yourself off from others, which leads to feelings of isolation. If you refuse to do something about feeling isolated, this can lead to overwhelming depression. This can have other serious side effects on your physical and mental health.
When you’re moving from your home to senior living, it’s important to be able to maintain a positive mental attitude about the situation. In other words, you’ll need to do what you can to avoid the pitfalls of slipping into a situation where you allow your mental health to decline. If you keep your mental health in positive shape, then you’ll be able to retain a great deal of your independence while living in an assisted living facility!
Check out the following four great tips for keeping your mental health in check as you prepare for this exciting transition.
1: Get Some Exercise
There are plenty of myths floating around about exercise and aging that can keep you from getting the movement you need to keep yourself in good shape. Getting regular exercise is important to maintaining physical health, and it's key to maintaining positive mental health.
Many assisted living facilities and nursing homes offer exercise programs these days. This adds a social component that can help you combat overwhelming feelings of isolation. Workout classes offered by your new home allow you to get out of your room and make friends with your new neighbors while keeping fit and strong.
The exercise classes offered by assisted living facilities and nursing homes often focus on lower-impact workouts that you can do easily without the fear of injury. For instance, some facilities offer tai chi, which is a form of meditation that incorporates movement at a gentle guided pace. This means that not only are you getting some movement in, but you’re also increasing the flow of positive endorphins through meditation.
2: Mingle at Social Events
We’ll say it now: socialization is one of the biggest components to maintaining positive mental health when transitioning to assisted living. Even if you’ve never been one to socialize that often, keeping up some form of human contact plays a big role in helping you stave off feelings of loneliness in your new home. Just getting out every so often to chat with your neighbors for a few minutes at a time can make a huge difference in the state of your mental health!
It’s very likely that your assisted living facility or nursing home holds a number of events each week for residents to come together and socialize. Some of the types of events that your new home may hold regularly include:
- Weekly game nights
- Weekly movie nights
- Weekly worship services
Now, you don’t have to attend every social event that your facility hosts. However, coming out to attend one or two every so often can help you feel connected to others. That connection is what will help you combat those lonely feelings that pop up every so often as you adjust to life in an assisted living facility or nursing home.
3: Spend Time With a Furry Friend
Sometimes, you just don’t necessarily feel comfortable connecting with fellow humans. This is especially true for seniors who are on the autism spectrum, or seniors who are experiencing cognitive decline. In this case, the companionship of a furry friend may be just what you need.
In some cases, assisted living facilities or nursing homes may allow you to have a dog or a cat. There are usually size and weight restrictions in place, so be mindful of those before you bring a pet into your new home. Even if your new home doesn’t allow you to have pets, you may still find ways to enjoy the company of a furry friend.
These days, many assisted living facilities and nursing homes have comfort animals that roam common living areas during daytime hours. This gives you a chance to enjoy some quality time with an animal, even if you aren’t allowed to have a pet. After all, enjoying the companionship of a pet can be just as comforting and nourishing as enjoying time with people.
4: Take Up a New Hobby
Many wrongfully think that we seem to lose the capacity to learn as we step into our golden years. It’s never too late to learn a new hobby. Taking on a new hobby can help you stay occupied as you transition to life in assisted living.
Several hobbies, such as model building and puzzle solving, can keep you busy and help combat lonely feelings if you prefer to stay in solitude. Others, like learning a musical instrument, have a great social component that can be beaten. For instance, picking up a guitar and joining in a jam with fellow learning musicians can be a fun way to get to know some new friends!
Transitioning to assisted living isn’t an easy thing. It can be incredibly difficult and mentally taxing. This is why it’s important to find ways to maintain a positive mental attitude during the transition. Luckily, there are tons of great resources regarding this topic available. For similar content, be sure to check out sites like MedicareInsurance.com.