Staying physically healthy, socially active, and mentally engaged as you age are keys to boosting senior mental health, experts agree. For instance:
1. Just Keep Moving
Exercise is essential for both the body and mind, Marina says. Go for a daily walk or join a senior exercise class at a nearby Y, gym, or senior center. If you have physical limitations, try chair exercises. If you’re physically able, try a dance class. A study published in 2014 in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association found that just one 60-minute dance class a week led to significant improvements in depression symptoms.
Struggles with physical health can lead to problems with mental health for seniors, says Mustafa M. Husain, MD, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and director of the geriatric psychiatry division at the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina. Physical illnesses may contribute to depression, or vice versa.