Senior living: self-care activities for seniors


EATON — Diet and exercise are usually top of mind when thinking about senior health and wellness, but there is a mental health component that is equally as important for aging well. Self-care is a concept that has been on the rise over the past two decades, especially as the world has been moving at a faster digital pace. Self-care has been defined as “any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.”

Self-care is often discussed within caregiver circles – with frazzled moms struggling to manage work/life balance or with adult children caring for aging parents and their own family or work responsibilities. But senior self-care is equally as important; the Centers for Disease Control’s State of Mental Health and Aging In America report found that about 20 percent of people over the age of 55 experience some sort of mental health concern, the most common of which are anxiety and depression. The report also identifies the fact that social and emotional support can greatly reduce the risk for mental health concerns, which means that senior self-care should always incorporate those two aspects.

Keeping in mind that self-care activities for seniors should benefit both the social and emotional aspects of their lives, here is a list of self-care tips for elderly adults that will satisfy both of those things:

1. Spend Time in Nature with a Friend. Scientific studies have found that immersing yourself in nature can have calming effects on your mind.

2. Start a Gratitude Journal. An article about the benefits of gratitude published by Harvard Health explains that “Gratitude is strongly and consistency associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

3. Organize a Weekly Phone Call or Dinner with a Loved One. Isolation and loneliness are contributing factors of senior depression. A wonderful way to combat depression and indulge in some self-care, is to schedule a weekly phone call or dinner with a loved one. We have people ready through our Senior Companion Program.

4. Join a Book Club. In addition to the mental stimulation of reading a book and using your imagination, the social component of a book club is a wonderful way to practice senior self-care. We offer two book clubs at the senior activities center.

5. See a Therapist Every Week. While it may not seem like something that should be on a list of self-care activities for seniors, treating yourself to regular therapy sessions can help you sleep better at night, lower your risk of depression, and even reduce feelings of back pain.

Although these self-care tips for elderly adults focused on the social and emotional components of wellness, the physical and organizational components are important as well. Being proactive about your health needs as you age is a necessity when it comes to self-care, albeit something that many people choose to overlook.

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By Holly Steele


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