Maintaining strong mental health at any age can be a challenging task and it becomes even more important later in life. In fact, research has shown that good mental health is the primary factor in determining how well you age. Here are 4 key strategies to age well into retirement and beyond.
Find a Purpose – Some seniors will describe retirement as similar to that other turning point in life: deciding what career to pursue. When retirement arrives it can be just as challenging to design what it is that will make you “happy.”? If you think about it, this time of life is a second chance to find a purpose.
Volunteering is a great way to find meaning. It encourages sharing of wisdom, talents, interests, skills and education that inherently create a sense of wellbeing and can give you a sense of purpose.
Avoid Isolation – In life the older we get the harder it becomes to connect with friends and family. Consciously build social activity into your life. Group exercise programs, volunteer work, family events or coffee with friends are just a few of the ways to build social activity into your life.
Seek Assistance – The “not working” stage affects others around you who may assume you want to help more. The most common situations are familial demands of grandchildren or aging parents. Who doesn’t love having the grandkids around? However, expectations of becoming a caregiver to your grandkids or parents may not have been in the plans. It is important to determine when their level of care exceeds your capacity to help out, without having a negative impact on you. There are a number of services available to help relieve the stress off caregivers and families. Encourage alternate babysitting services for your grandkids. Considering having home support services like housekeeping, meal prep, laundry or person care to help with day to day tasks for your parents or even for yourself to take some of the burden off you.
Eat Well –It cannot be overstated how critical the importance of a healthy diet and regular exercise can be to feeling good both physically and mentally.
If cooking healthy meals is becoming a chore consider joining a customized meal plan service or Meals on Wheels that will deliver healthy meals right to your door.
Exercise – Exercise fits two bills as it keeps you fit and strong but it can also double as social activity. Group exercise programs are a great way to stay fit and stay social. If exercise has become more difficult over the years seek out personalized exercise programs that can be tailored to your needs, there are even exercise programs that do not require you to leave the house. It is important to note that physical activity boosts the natural endorphins in your blood steam which helps improve mood.
Local Community Centres, Libraries and The Multi-Service Centre are a good place to start when looking to be connected to the services and volunteer opportunities that are right for you.