Some Things Improve with Age

Some Things Improve with Age

The Challenges of Healthy Aging

The mind matters

Getting older comes with its own challenges. But a healthy mind can help you enjoy your golden years with more fulfillment. Good mental health will also help you to better handle tough situations. And a healthy mind makes it more likely that you will stay in touch with your friends and family and join in hobbies.

Being in good mental health doesn’t mean you are never sad or in a bad mood. But if gloomy moods last, you could have a bigger problem. As you age, depression may hit when:

  • Physical health declines
  • You have to move from your home
  • Loved ones get sick or die
  • You have to depend on others or can’t do things you used to do

Studies show that mental illnesses in older people are often not noticed. Nearly 20 percent of people age 55 and older have mental disorders that are not part of normal aging. The most widespread ones include anxiety, memory problems and mood disorders.

Actions speak louder than words

When it comes to your mental health, it means a lot to understand your feelings. Besides depression, look for thesesigns:

  • Quick temper
  • Low energy
  • Changes in sleeping and eating habits
  • Forgetting things more, being confused or getting lost a lot
  • Fearfulness
  • Neglecting housework
  • Crying a lot and feeling overwhelmed and hopeless
  • Trouble keeping track of money
  • Staying alone and avoiding social situations
  • Thinking about hurting yourself and giving up on life

If emotional problems are causing troubles in your daily life, see your doctor or a mental health professional. Make sure you give them all the details. Let them know that your feelings are not normal compared to what they used to be.

You may also want to share your feelings with a trusted friend, family member or spiritual guide. Sometimes others may notice differences in personality or mood that you don’t see. Staff members from senior centers or other senior programs may be able to offer other helpful facts.

As you age, it’s just as vital to keep your mind healthy as it is to keep your body in good shape. Learn new things, read a challenging book and keep your mind active. When you look for ways to keep your mind in its best shape, you can helpkeep your mind healthy throughout each stage of your life.

Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry

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