Mental Health in Seniors During Covid-19
In accordance with CDC guidelines and continued efforts to keep communities safe, older adults have been forced to limit their contact with caregivers and family during the last several months. As a direct result, older adults have experienced periods of increased isolation and social disconnections COVID-19, making mental health an important topic to discuss.
So, what exactly is “ mental health”? Mentalhealth.gov defines mental health as “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.”
According to apa.org social isolation is linked with “adverse health consequences including depression, poor sleep quality, impaired executive function, accelerated cognitive decline, poor cardiovascular function and impaired immunity at every stage of life.”
Recent studies have shown that, counter to expectation, older adults may be more resilient to the anxiety, depression, and stress-related mental health disorders characteristic of younger populations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The reason behind this extraordinary resilience is thought to be due to the wisdom and perspective of years of life experiences.
Our team at Inlet Coastal spent time in the very beginning on the pandemic to review policies and operations in order to meet the behavioral and mental health needs of our residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This meant installing UV air filters, establishing enhanced cleaning procedures, obtaining rapid tests, and developing creative ways to connect with families.
But more than that, it also meant creating fun and engaging social activities and celebrations for residents. Regardless of what we would have to face, we understood the importance of keeping our residents physically active, mentally engaged, and socially connected.
The Family Institute at Northwestern University has a list of 50 strategies to boost mental health. The activities are broken down by the following categories:
- Nurture your relationships
- Practice mindfulness
- Self-care is important
- Pay attention to how you communicate with others
- Shift your mindset to positive thinking
- Overcome perfectionism
- Become engaged and self-aware
One other strategy to help improve mental health is regular physical activity. Research shows that aerobic exercises, including jogging, swimming, cycling, walking, gardening, and dancing, have been proved to reduce anxiety and depression.
Residents at Inlet Coastal Resort enjoy a variety of activities and exercises. Watch the video below for a snapshot of activities over the last few months!