Table of Contents
Gettting older is highly correlated with sadness, loneliness, and mental issues. There are ways to make this better.
Here are 15 actionable areas you can do today to improve your mental and emotional health.
- Cognitive Stimulation
- Meaningful Activitties
- Medication Management
- Mindfulness Meditttation
- Professional Help
Start with the Action Table
Below is a shortcut guide to the emotional benefits of working and playing to feel better.
Improved memory and mental function
Crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, card games, Sudoku, brain training games
Reduces feelings of boredom and increases self-expression
Engage in hobbies or take classes in painting, drawing, music, writing, and crafts
Improves cognitive function, memory, mood, physical health, endorphins, sleep; reduces stress and anxiety
Walking, swimming, yoga, bicycling, strength training, Tai Chi
Boosts mood and reduces stress
Watching a comedy, playing with pets, find a Laughter Yoga class in person or online
Increases mental stimulation and reduces cognitive decline
Enroll in continuing education classes in person or online
Increases sense of purpose and fulfillment
Volunteering, learning a new skill or hobby, participating in a book club
Properly managing mental health conditions; avoid medication mistakes
Working with a primary care physician or psychiatrist
Reduced stress and anxiety
Do guided meditation, mindful breathing, yoga, tai chi
Reduces stress and improves mood
Walking in parks, gardening, and bird watching
Reduced risk of cognitive decline and dementia
Eating a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, proteins, good fats; limit processed foods and sugar; avoid fast food; drink water. Keto and intermittent fasting reduce signs of dementia in several studies. Have vitamin and mineral levels checked.
Access to resources and support for mental health concerns
Therapy, support groups, medication management
Reduces stress and anxiety, promotes better sleep
Deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga
Reduces feelings of depression, loneliness and isolation
Call or video chat with friends and family; join a senior center; join a gardening club; find group activities at Meetup.com
Improved mood and cognitive function
Going to bed at the same time each night. Establish a consistent routine. Don’t use TV or phone two hours before bed. Avoid stimulant after morning.
Improves sense of meaning, fulfillment, and mood.
Volunteer at food pantry, soup kitchen, animal shelter.
Cognitive Stimulation Ideas
Cognitive stimulation improves memory and thinking. Crossword puzzles, card games, Sudoku and brain training games can keep your brain sharp.
Brain training games have become increasingly popular in recent years as a means of improving cognitive function and maintaining brain health. These games are designed to stimulate various aspects of the brain, including memory, attention, and problem-solving skills. Here are some examples of popular brain training games.
Lumosity is a brain training app that offers a variety of games and exercises designed to improve memory, attention, and flexibility. The app has been used by millions of people worldwide and has been scientifically validated to improve cognitive function.
Elevate is another brain training app that offers a range of exercises to improve cognitive function, including memory, attention, and problem-solving skills. The app also provides personalized training programs based on the user’s strengths and weaknesses.
BrainHQ is a brain training program developed by Posit Science that offers a range of exercises to improve cognitive function, including memory, attention, and processing speed. The program has been scientifically validated to improve cognitive function in older adults.
Peak is a brain training app that offers a range of games and exercises designed to improve cognitive function, including memory, attention, and problem-solving skills. The app also provides personalized training programs based on the user’s performance.
CogniFit is a brain training program that offers a range of exercises to improve cognitive function, including memory, attention, and visual processing. The program also provides personalized training programs based on the user’s cognitive profile.
Learning creative skills can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience that can enrich one’s personal and professional life. Creativity activities allow you to focus instead of feeling bored. Self expression can lead to good feelings about accomplishments. Even if you don’t know how to pain, play music or do crafts, there are various ways to learn creative skills.
Take Classes in Person
Enrolling in classes is an effective way to learn creative skills. Local community centers, art schools, and universities often offer courses in painting, drawing, pottery, sculpture, and other creative disciplines. Taking classes can provide a structured and supportive learning environment, with access to professional instruction and feedback.
Attend Workshops and Conferences
Attending workshops and conferences can be an excellent way to learn creative skills, as they offer the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals and to network with other like-minded individuals. These events often offer hands-on learning experiences and interactive sessions that can help participants develop their skills and knowledge.
Take Classes Online
With the increasing availability of online courses, it has become easier to learn creative skills from the comfort of one’s home. Platforms such as Coursera, Skillshare, and Udemy offer a wide range of courses on creative skills, including photography, graphic design, music production, and more. These courses often offer video lectures, assignments, and quizzes to help participants learn at their own pace.
Learn from Books, Websites, and Online Videos
Reading books and watching tutorials can be an effective way to learn creative skills. There are numerous books and online resources available that provide step-by-step guidance and practical tips for developing creative skills. Read books for free at Open Library.
Practice and Experiment
Practice and experimentation are crucial for developing creative skills. Setting aside time for regular creative practice, experimenting with different techniques and materials, and seeking feedback from others can help develop one’s creative skills and confidence.
Overall, it’s important for seniors to consult with their doctor before starting any exercise program, especially if they have any health concerns or chronic conditions. By choosing safe and effective exercises, seniors can improve their physical health, mental well-being, and overall quality of life.
There are many safe and effective ways that seniors can exercise, here are some examples:
Walking is a low-impact exercise that is easy to do and requires no special equipment. Seniors can walk around their neighborhood or local park, or join a walking group to stay motivated and social.
Swimming is a great exercise for seniors because it is low-impact and easy on the joints. Seniors can swim laps, take water aerobics classes, or participate in water walking programs.
Yoga is a gentle form of exercise that can help seniors improve their flexibility, balance, and strength. There are many yoga classes designed specifically for seniors, which can help them feel more comfortable and supported.
Tai Chi is a gentle form of martial arts that can help seniors improve their balance, reduce stress, and increase their overall sense of well-being. Tai Chi can be practiced indoors or outdoors and requires no special equipment.
Resistance training, such as lifting weights or using resistance bands, can help seniors build and maintain muscle mass. Seniors can work with a personal trainer or join a resistance training class to ensure they are using proper form and technique.
Chair exercises are a great option for seniors with limited mobility or who are recovering from an injury. Seniors can use a chair to perform exercises such as seated leg lifts, arm curls, and shoulder rolls.
Laughter has been shown to have many health benefits, including reducing stress, improving mood, and boosting the immune system. There are various activities that can stimulate laughter and promote a sense of joy and happiness.
Watching comedy movies or TV shows can be an effective way to stimulate laughter. These types of entertainment are specifically designed to make people laugh, and they often include physical humor, witty jokes, and humorous situations. Watch ancient comedy movies for free at Public Domain Movies. Listen to comedy for free at AccuRadio.
Playing games that involve humor and silliness can be a fun way to stimulate laughter. Games such as charades, Pictionary, and card games with funny prompts can create a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere that encourages laughter. Play games for free at Play Games.
Get a Joke Book
Sharing jokes with friends or family can be an effective way to stimulate laughter. Telling a good joke requires a bit of skill and timing, but the payoff can be worth it in the form of shared laughter and joy. Read jokes for free at Laugh Factory and Readers Digest.
Engaging in physical activities that are fun and playful can also stimulate laughter. Activities such as dancing, playing with pets, or participating in sports can release endorphins that promote a sense of well-being and joy.
Spending time with friends and engaging in social activities can be an effective way to stimulate laughter. Laughter is contagious, and being around people who are happy and relaxed can create a positive and joyful atmosphere.
There are many ways that seniors can learn new skills, here are some examples.
There are many online courses available on platforms such as Coursera, Udemy, and Skillshare, which offer a wide range of courses on various topics. Seniors can choose a course that interests them and learn at their own pace from the comfort of their own home.
Many community centers offer classes and workshops on a variety of topics, from art and music to technology and finance. Seniors can take advantage of these resources to learn new skills and connect with others in their community.
Volunteering is a great way for seniors to learn new skills while giving back to their community. Non-profit organizations often offer training programs to volunteers, which can provide valuable experience and knowledge.
Seniors can become mentors to younger people who are interested in learning new skills. This can be a great way to share their expertise and give back to the community, while also learning from their mentees.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer groups and forums where seniors can connect with others who share their interests and learn from each other.
Libraries offer access to a wide range of resources, including books, audiobooks, and online databases. Seniors can use these resources to learn new skills, such as how to use a computer or how to write a memoir.
Meaningful Mindfulness Ideas
Sometimes feeling that life is meaning boils down to doing things that are fun, or helpful to others. Having a sense of meaning can lead to feelings of reduced stress and less anxiety. You can take classes in meditation, yoga, and tai chi. Here are some more ideas to help find a feeling of meaning.
Guided meditation can help seniors focus on the present moment, which can be a powerful tool for reducing stress and anxiety. By clearing their minds and focusing on their breath, seniors can gain a sense of peace and calm, which can contribute to a greater sense of meaning in their lives.
Mindful breathing can help seniors become more aware of their body and their surroundings. By focusing on their breath, seniors can become more grounded and centered, which can help them feel more connected to themselves and the world around them.
Yoga is a physical and mental practice that combines breath control, meditation, and body postures. Seniors who practice yoga can improve their flexibility, balance, and strength, which can help them feel more confident and capable. Additionally, yoga can help seniors become more aware of their bodies and their breath, which can contribute to a greater sense of mindfulness and meaning in their lives.
Tai Chi is a gentle form of martial arts that combines slow, flowing movements with deep breathing and mental focus. Tai Chi can help seniors improve their balance, reduce stress, and increase their sense of overall well-being. By focusing on their movements and their breath, seniors can become more aware of their bodies and their surroundings, which can help them feel more connected to the world around them.
Seniors can plan trips to places they have always wanted to visit, or they can join group tours to explore new destinations. Traveling can provide a sense of adventure and help seniors meet new people.
Staying physically active is important for seniors’ health and well-being. Seniors can engage in activities such as yoga, walking, or swimming to stay fit and healthy.
Writing can be a great way for seniors to express themselves creatively and reflect on their experiences. Seniors can write memoirs, poetry, or short stories, and even share their work with others.
Playing an instrument or singing can be a fun and rewarding hobby for seniors. They can join a community choir or band or take lessons to improve their skills.
Gardening can be a relaxing and fulfilling activity for seniors. They can grow their own vegetables, flowers, or herbs, or volunteer in community gardens.
Seniors can participate in social activities such as dancing, playing games, or attending cultural events. Socializing can help seniors stay connected with others and build new friendships.
Seniors can take classes at local universities or community colleges, or participate in lifelong learning programs. Continuing education can help seniors stay mentally stimulated and engaged.
Medication Management Ideas
Managing medications can be challenging for seniors, especially if they are taking multiple medications for different health conditions. Managing medications can be complex, but working with a physician and a psychotherapist can help seniors stay on track and manage any medication-related concerns or issues.
Keep a Medication List
Seniors should keep a list of all their medications, including the name of the medication, dosage, and frequency. They should also include any vitamins, supplements, or over-the-counter medications they are taking.
Seniors can use medication reminders, such as phone alarms or pill boxes, to help them remember to take their medications at the right time. They can also ask family members or caregivers to help remind them if needed.
Use a Single Pharmacy
Seniors should use a single pharmacy to fill all their prescriptions, which can help ensure that there are no interactions between medications and simplify the refill process.
Talk to the Doctor
Seniors should talk to their doctor about their medications, including any side effects they may be experiencing, and any concerns they have. They should also inform their doctor of any changes in their health or medications they are taking.
Work with a Psychotherapist
Seniors can work with a psychotherapist to manage the emotional and psychological effects of taking medications. A psychotherapist can help seniors cope with anxiety or depression related to taking medications, and provide strategies for managing medication-related stress.
Keep Medications Secure
Seniors should keep their medications in a secure location to prevent accidental ingestion by children or pets. They should also dispose of medications properly, according to the instructions on the label.
Spending time in nature and sunshine can improve seniors’ mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote relaxation.
Exposure to sunshine can help seniors get the vitamin D their bodies need, which is important for maintaining healthy bones and reducing the risk of some health conditions.
Outdoor activities such as walking or gardening can improve seniors’ physical health, including their balance, flexibility, and cardiovascular health.
Participating in outdoor activities can provide opportunities for seniors to socialize and connect with others, which can help combat loneliness and depression.
Walking outdoors in nature is a great way for seniors to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air while getting some exercise. Seniors can walk around their neighborhood, local park, or hiking trails to enjoy the beauty of nature.
Did you know that soil contains the precursor to serotonin? That’s one of the reasons that gardening gives a sense of peace.
Gardening is a great way for seniors to connect with nature, get some exercise, and enjoy the sunshine. Seniors can plant flowers, vegetables, or herbs in their backyard or community garden, which can also provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
Birdwatching is a peaceful and relaxing activity that can help seniors connect with nature and improve their mental well-being. Seniors can watch birds in their backyard, local park, or nature reserve.
Seniors can enjoy a picnic in a local park or at the beach, which can provide an opportunity to get some fresh air, sunshine, and social interaction with family and friends.
Outdoor Exercise Classes
Many communities offer outdoor exercise classes, such as yoga, Tai Chi, or Pilates. These classes provide a chance to exercise in the fresh air while enjoying the benefits of being in nature.
There are several free resources available online to learn about nutrition. Here are some free websites with actionable nutrition ideas. By using these free online resources, seniors can learn about healthy eating habits, nutrition guidelines, and meal planning. These resources can help seniors make informed decisions about their diet and lead a healthier lifestyle.
This website is maintained by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and provides information on healthy eating habits, meal planning, and nutrition guidelines. The website also includes interactive tools, such as a personalized meal plan tool and a food tracker.
This website is also maintained by the USDA and provides information on nutrition-related topics, including healthy eating, dietary supplements, and food safety. The website also includes a database of recipes and a search tool for finding nutrition-related resources in your area.
This website is maintained by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and provides information on healthy eating habits, nutrition guidelines, and recipes. The website also includes a search tool for finding a registered dietitian in your area.
This website provides nutrition-related articles and resources based on the latest scientific research. The website includes information on healthy eating habits, recipes, and nutrition guidelines.
This website and mobile app allows users to track their food intake, exercise, and weight loss progress. The app includes a database of over 11 million foods, making it easy to track your nutrition intake.
This website provides a wide range of nutrition-related articles and resources, including healthy eating tips, meal plans, and recipes.
Professional Help Ideas
There are several resources that seniors can use to get professional mental and emotional help. Here are some options:
Medicare covers a wide range of mental health services, including therapy and counseling. Seniors can use the Medicare website to find providers in their area who accept Medicare.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
NAMI is a national organization that provides support and resources for individuals and families affected by mental illness. NAMI offers a helpline, support groups, and educational resources.
Mental Health America (MHA)
MHA is a nonprofit organization that provides resources and support for individuals affected by mental health issues. MHA offers a free online screening tool for mental health concerns and a database of mental health providers.
Psychology Today is an online directory of mental health providers, including therapists, counselors, and psychiatrists. Seniors can search for providers in their area based on their specific needs and preferences.
BetterHelp is an online counseling service that provides access to licensed therapists via video, phone, or chat. Seniors can use the platform to connect with a therapist and receive counseling from the comfort of their own home.
Talkspace is another online counseling service that provides access to licensed therapists via video, phone, or chat. Seniors can use the platform to connect with a therapist and receive counseling from anywhere with an internet connection.
There are many ways to relax, including deep breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga. Other ways to relax include taking a warm bath, listening to calming music, practicing progressive muscle relaxation, and spending time in nature. The benefits of relaxation techniques are numerous, and can help reduce stress, improve mental and physical health, and increase overall well-being. Incorporating relaxation techniques into your daily routine can help you manage stress more effectively and improve your overall quality of life.
Deep Breathing Exercises
Deep breathing exercises involve taking slow, deep breaths to calm the mind and body. This technique is often used in meditation and yoga practices, and can help reduce stress and anxiety. Deep breathing can also improve oxygen flow to the brain, which can increase mental clarity and focus. Free instruction videos include 5 Deep Breathing Exercises you should do Daily, and Relieve Stress & Anxiety with Simple Breathing Techniques
Meditation involves focusing your attention on a particular object, thought, or activity to achieve a state of relaxation and mental clarity. Meditation can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep quality, and increase feelings of well-being. Regular meditation practice has also been linked to improved immune function and lower blood pressure. Here’s a free guide: 10-Minute Meditation For Beginners
Yoga combines physical postures with breathing techniques and meditation to promote relaxation and reduce stress. Regular yoga practice can improve flexibility, balance, and strength, as well as reduce anxiety and depression. Yoga can also improve sleep quality and increase feelings of well-being. Look for classes near you. “Chair yoga” is friendly to senior bodies.
Socialization is important for seniors to maintain their mental and emotional well-being. Socializing lifts depression and adds to a sense of meaning. By incorporating these socialization ideas into their routine, seniors can stay connected with others and maintain their mental and emotional well-being.
Join a Club
Seniors can join clubs or organizations based on their interests, such as a gardening club, book club, or volunteer group. Meetup.com and Senior Center Directory are websites that can help seniors find clubs or organizations in their area.
Take a Class
Seniors can take classes to learn new skills or hobbies, such as painting, cooking, or dancing. Many community centers and senior centers offer classes for seniors. Udemy and Coursera are also online platforms that offer a wide range of courses for all ages.
Attend Community Events
Seniors can attend community events, such as concerts, festivals, and art shows. Local newspapers and community calendars are good resources for finding events in their area.
(Carefully) Use Social Media (avoid the trolls)
Seniors can use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to connect with friends and family members. These platforms also have groups and pages specifically for seniors to connect with others who share their interests.
Attend Adult Day Care Programs at Senior Centers
Senior centers and adult day care programs provide opportunities for seniors to socialize with others, participate in activities, and receive support. Eldercare.gov is a website that can help seniors find senior centers and adult day care programs in their area.
Getting enough sleep is crucial for maintaining good health and well-being. By incorporating these ideas into your routine, you can improve the quality and quantity of your sleep, which can lead to better overall health and well-being.
Stick to a Sleep Schedule
Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day helps regulate the body’s internal clock, which can improve the quality of sleep. It’s important to maintain this schedule even on weekends.
Create a Relaxing Sleep Environment
Make sure your bedroom is quiet, cool, and dark. Use comfortable bedding and pillows to promote restful sleep.
Limit Screen Time before Bed
The blue light emitted by electronic devices can disrupt the body’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Avoid using phones, tablets, or computers for at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
Techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization can help calm the mind and prepare the body for sleep.
Regular exercise can help improve the quality of sleep. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.
Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, and Nicotine
Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that can interfere with sleep, while alcohol can disrupt the normal sleep cycle.
Consider Natural Sleep Aids
Natural sleep aids like chamomile tea or lavender essential oil can help promote relaxation and improve the quality of sleep.
Volunteering can be a great way for seniors to stay active, engaged, and connected to their communities. Here are some volunteer opportunities for seniors.
Senior Corps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service that connects seniors with volunteer opportunities in their local communities. The program offers three different volunteer programs: Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions, and RSVP. Seniors can choose the program that best fits their interests and abilities. To learn more, visit https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/senior-corps.
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is a program that provides free tax preparation assistance to low-income seniors. Volunteers are needed to help with tax preparation and other tasks. To learn more and find volunteer opportunities in your area, visit https://www.aarp.org/money/taxes/aarp_taxaide/.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that builds affordable housing for low-income families. Seniors can volunteer to help with construction, fundraising, and other tasks. To learn more and find volunteer opportunities in your area, visit https://www.habitat.org/volunteer.
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels is a program that provides home-delivered meals to seniors in need. Volunteers are needed to help with meal preparation, delivery, and other tasks. To learn more and find volunteer opportunities in your area, visit https://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/volunteer.
Many hospitals and healthcare facilities offer volunteer opportunities for seniors. Volunteers can help with tasks such as greeting visitors, escorting patients, and providing support to staff. To find volunteer opportunities at a hospital near you, visit their website or contact their volunteer coordinator.