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Emotional Wellness Tips for Seniors

Oct 31, 2022|Health & Wellness

senior man smiling

What is emotional wellness? The terms emotional wellness, emotional well-being and emotional health refer to an awareness, understanding and acceptance of feelings, and the ability to deal with challenges and change. It includes how you feel about yourself, how you cope with stress and your ability to express your feelings in healthy ways.

Why Is Emotional Wellness Important for Seniors?

Emotional wellness is one of seven dimensions of total wellness, according to the International Council on Active Aging. Each dimension of wellness is closely connected to the others, each playing a vital role in a person’s overall wellness. Did you know that emotional wellness has a particularly profound impact on one’s mental and physical health? Experts have even found that age doesn’t mean a lesser quality of life, but poor emotional and mental health does.

According to the National Council on Aging, one in four seniors experiences some sort of mental disorder such as depression or anxiety. Although the rate of seniors with mental health conditions tends to increase with age, depression and similar illnesses are not a normal part of aging.

Like all stages of life, aging involves change. It may include the declining health of yourself or a loved one, social connectedness or a diminished sense of purpose. Change can also include adult children and grandchildren moving away.

These all can have a drastically negative effect on your emotional wellness. And while you can’t avoid these changes, you can control how you react to them.

At Hawthorn communities, we encourage residents to pursue a purposeful lifestyle by creating and maintaining meaningful relationships and practicing self-care. By offering programs and classes focused on self-discovery and gratitude, fitness, spiritual fulfillment, creative expression, stress management and support groups, our residents have the tools they need to promote emotional wellness.

It is important to approach emotional wellness by being honest with yourself and being aware of your feelings and emotions. This is not a small task, but it can be accomplished with the right tools, activities and mindset.

Just like exercising or eating healthy, it is never too late to take steps that improve your overall health and wellness. Incorporate these tips into your daily routine to help you stay resilient, manage stress and strengthen your emotional wellness.

Move Your Body

Remaining physically active is key to supporting overall health. Exercise not only improves your physical health but also benefits your emotional and mental health. As you exercise, your body releases endorphins, the feel-good chemicals that provide an instant mood boost.

It’s also a great way to manage stress and can help older adults cope with feelings of anxiety and depression. Exercise aids in brain function, helps prevent memory loss, boosts self-confidence and reduces the risk of falls.

Start taking evening walks with friends or try your hand at pickleball. If you’re unable to do those things, lift light weights, stretch and do chair yoga. The more you can incorporate low-impact aerobics and muscle-strengthening exercises into your routine, the better you will feel physically and emotionally.

Residents at Capitol Ridge senior living community in Bristow, Virginia, can participate in daily classes to get their body moving right outside their front door, surrounded by friends and neighbors. Classes include morning movement, chair yoga, line dancing lessons and core strengthening. 

Stay Connected

Studies show that maintaining social connections can boost both physical and emotional health, as well as extend longevity. Older adults who feel socially connected to their peers typically have lower anxiety levels and are less at risk for depression. Those who don’t feel connected are more likely to experience a decline in emotional and physical health.

To strengthen your social circle, try joining a hobby group, take a class to learn something new, schedule weekly lunch outings with a friend or strike up a conversation with your neighbor. A small conversation can lead to a blossoming friendship with lasting benefits.

Living in a senior living community like Hessler Heights in Leesburg, Virginia, is proven to enhance a senior’s social life. With daily, weekly and monthly opportunities like resident socials, movie nights, themed events, beanbag baseball and game clubs, residents have a variety of outlets to pursue new friendships and expand their social circle.

Sleep Well

Make getting enough sleep a top priority. Most adults need eight hours of sleep to function at their best. A good night’s sleep improves mental clarity the next day and the ability to focus.

Lack of sleep, on the other hand, may cause or increase confusion, memory loss or depression and diminish overall mental capacity. It’s recommended to stick to a consistent bedtime and awake around the same time each day.

Ask for Help

If you are suffering from emotional distress, it’s okay – even encouraged – to seek help. Everyone has moments of stress, anxiety and some form of depression; you are not alone.

When these feelings arise, reach out to a friend or family member you trust and who will listen to what you have to say. Don’t hesitate to seek answers from a professional; that way you know you are getting adequate care and advice.

Be Mindful

Mindfulness is about acceptance and living in the present moment. Practicing mindfulness has many proven health benefits that can help you age successfully, including improved focus, better memory and decreased stress. As negative thoughts and worries enter your mind, acknowledge them, then return to the present. To practice mindfulness, try meditation, yoga, tai chi or even coloring.

What works for some may not work for others, so it’s best to find mindfulness practices that bring work best for you.

Volunteer Your Time

For those looking to give back to their local community and donate their time after retirement, volunteering can offer additional benefits that enhance physical, emotional and mental health.

Volunteering is not only a great way to strengthen emotional wellness, but also a great opportunity to expand your social circle and support a good cause.

At Hawthorn Senior Living, we make it a priority to connect our residents with meaningful volunteer opportunities. Whether you choose to give in big ways or small, giving back is vitally important to your overall wellness.

Circle chart

The Hawthorn Approach

Strengthening emotional wellness is easier when you are part of a senior living community of like-minded people. When you have the support of others and guidance from professionals, you can incorporate emotional wellness habits into your day-to-day life with ease.

Discover complete wellness at a Hawthorn community near you today!  To learn more about our wellness programs, visit SeniorLivingInStyle.com.

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