Practical Mental Health Tips for Older Adults

Feeling overwhelmed by stress, anxiety, or depression? You’re not alone. As an older adult, it’s important to take care of your mental health. Here are some practical tips to help you prioritize and manage your well-being.

Quick facts: Mental Health Tips For Older Adults

  • ✅Mental health issues among older adults have increased significantly in recent years; the World Health Organization reports that between 1982 and 2019, the percentage of adults over 65 living with depression has risen from 7% to 15%. (World Health Organization)
  • ✅Studies have shown that nearly 20% of older adults suffer from anxiety disorders, which is more than twice the rate of younger adults. (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • ✅Older adults are at greater risk for developing mental health issues due to the stress of chronic diseases, caregiver burden, and social isolation. (American Psychological Association)
  • ✅According to a recent survey, 75% of older adults reported that they experienced improved mental health after engaging in activities such as exercise, reading, and social interaction. (American Psychological Association)
  • ✅Approximately 1 in 5 older adults have experienced a mental health issue in their lifetime, and the prevalence is expected to continue to rise as the population ages. (Mental Health America)

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The Good News About Senior Mental Health

Despite the challenges associated with aging, senior mental health is often an area of good news. Research indicates that in comparison to younger adults, seniors report fewer symptoms of depression and lower levels of stress. Despite physical changes and losses, many seniors are able to make adjustments in their lifestyles that can lead to increased satisfaction in life.

In addition to finding activities and relationships that can bring a sense of joy and purpose, seniors may also benefit from working on their overall mental health. Cognitive stimulation through learning activities, socialization opportunities with peers, and healthy lifestyle habits can all contribute to improved mental wellbeing. Mental health professionals may also be useful for addressing specific concerns or issues related to aging such as grief or loneliness.

Seniors should be aware of the available resources for improving their mental health and seek help when necessary:

  • Cognitive stimulation through learning activities
  • Socialization opportunities with peers
  • Healthy lifestyle habits
  • Mental health professionals

6 Ways to Improve Mental Health in Seniors

Mental health is a critical aspect of overall wellness for the senior population. With an estimated 12 million seniors suffering from depression, it is important to understand how to support and improve mental health in the elderly.

The six ways to improve mental health in seniors are:

  • Exercise can help reduce stress, increase endorphins, provide a sense of accomplishment and foster positive thinking.
  • Socializing helps prevent loneliness and isolation which can be detrimental to mental health.
  • Engaging in meaningful activities can give older adults a sense of self-worth and purpose while providing structure throughout the day.
  • Proper nutrition keeps the mind alert and provides energy for activities throughout the day.
  • Activities that provide purpose such as hobbies or volunteer work can help keep minds sharp while also providing socialization opportunities with peers who have similar interests.
  • Finally, living arrangements such as assisted living or group homes encourage independence while providing support with medical care and companionship from other residents or staff members if needed.

Play Mind Games

Playing “mind games” is a great way for older adults to practice self-care and maintain mental health. Mind games can range from puzzles and board games to simple word and memory exercises. Playing these types of games helps seniors keep their brains active and stimulated, while providing an enjoyable pastime that reduces stress and elevates moods.

Board games like checkers, chess, Monopoly, and Scrabble are particularly beneficial as they require two or more players. This can help seniors connect with friends and family members who may not live nearby, providing valuable social interaction necessary for mental health. Studies also show that playing these kinds of mind games every day can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease in older adults.

Get Physical

Physical activity is essential for older adults as a way to keep both the body and mind functioning optimally. Even moderate levels of exercise can have dramatic effects on mental health and psychological well-being, helping reduce the risk of depression, anxiety, and other mood-related disorders.

Getting out in nature, taking up a new hobby or sport, walking with friends or joining a local gym can all help to improve mood and feelings of well-being. Additionally, research has found that physical activity can also help to boost cognitive function by stimulating the production of new brain cells and synaptic connections.

Taking up a physical activity that is enjoyable and safe for an individual’s age, lifestyle, and lifestyle is essential for reaping these benefits:

  • Getting out in nature
  • Taking up a new hobby or sport
  • Walking with friends
  • Joining a local gym

Stay Connected with Friends

Building strong relationships with friends is an essential part of looking after your mental health. Loneliness can have a negative impact on your mental wellbeing, but spending time with people you care about can do the opposite – it can provide a boost to your mental health.

It’s important to stay connected with your friends and family, even if you’re unable to socialize in person. Keeping up regular contact through digital platforms or video calls helps make sure that you aren’t spending too much time alone. Additionally, research has found that having meaningful relationships with people who support you when you may be struggling, increases psychological resilience and makes it easier to handle stressful experiences.

Cultivate Friendships

Cultivating meaningful friendships is one of the most important ways to improve mental health and wellbeing. This means having quality time with both old friends, and making new connections. Studies have found that a lack of social connections can have far-reaching effects on mental health, including increased risk for depression.

To cultivate meaningful friendships, adults should invest time in activities that bring them closer to others. Activities like joining clubs or groups with shared interests, volunteering in the community, or scheduling coffee dates with close friends are some simple and practical ways to build or strengthen relationships.

Additionally, these activities can also support physical health goals as they allow adults to become more active by meeting up for walks with friends or even just playing a game together regularly. By investing quality time into your relationships and recognizing how important they are to your overall wellbeing you’ll find that your mental health greatly improves over time.

Pick up a New Hobby

Picking up a new hobby can be a great way to stay engaged, engage in meaningful activities, and find a sense of purpose. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or returning to an old pastime – now is the perfect time to learn something new and explore the world around you. Why not try painting, playing an instrument, gardening, writing, cooking or baking? Hobbies are not only fun but they can also give you something to look forward to each day, mood boosts and build self-confidence.

It’s also important to take some time out of each day to relax. You could try yoga or meditation which can help you feel calmer and more connected with yourself as well as being able to enjoy the present moment and reduce stress levels. Taking walks in nature is also a great way to reduce anxiety and gain perspective on life. Giving yourself this time each day will help your mental health in the long run too!


Volunteering is an excellent way to make a meaningful contribution to others, while also having a positive effect on your own mental health. It allows older adults to stay engaged in the community, meet new people, and form strong relationships with like-minded individuals. Additionally, it provides an opportunity for older adults to stay active and physically fit by participating in activities related to their chosen organization.

Volunteering can take many forms, from helping out at a local food bank or soup kitchen to mentoring young people or providing companionship for the elderly. Ultimately, volunteering can help older adults feel fulfilled and productive as they make a lasting impact in the lives of those around them.

Caring for a Pet

As people transition back to in-person learning, caring for a pet can be beneficial for older adults’ mental health. Having a pet can help increase social interaction and physical activity. Pets can also provide comfort and companionship, which can help improve anxiety and loneliness.

As one brings their pet into the learning environment, it is important to adhere to safety protocols such as making sure pets are up to date on vaccines, are spayed or neutered, and have access to a quiet area for resting when needed. Proper supervision is essential for both the adult’s safety and the pet’s wellbeing.

Providing daily routine activities such as

  • regular meals
  • walks

can also be beneficial in helping them cope with the changes of transitioning back into in-person learning.

10 Wellness Tips for Older Adults

Wellness is the active pursuit of good health and the experience of feeling physically, mentally, and spiritually in balance. As we age, maintaining our physical and mental health can be increasingly difficult. Here are 10 tips to help older adults improve their overall wellbeing:

  1. Exercise regularly – Regular physical activity will help maintain physical fitness as well as improve mood and reduce stress.
  2. Eat a balanced diet – Eating a healthy balanced diet can help maintain overall health, reduce chronic diseases, boost immunity, and provide essential nutrients for energy.
  3. Get enough sleep – Older adults should strive to get 7-9 hours of sleep per day to conserve energy levels and enhance cognitive functioning.
  4. Manage stress – Stress management techniques such as meditation or mindfulness can help promote relaxation or calming of the mind so that one can better handle stressful situations.
  5. Stay socially active – Maintaining strong social relationships helps keep depression at bay by providing emotional support when needed most, as well as being a source for positive energy which can result in improved wellbeing overall
  6. Stay connected with family members- Staying connected with family members helps foster a sense of belonging and creates memories that last a lifetime
  7. Engage in meaningful activities- Keeping actively engaged in hobbies or meaningful activities is not only beneficial for staying motivated but also helps prevent boredom
  8. Limit alcohol consumption- Drinking too much alcohol can increase risk factors for chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, stroke or certain cancers
  9. Participate in spiritual activities- Participation in spiritual activities like prayer or attending religious services have been linked to life fulfillment and an enhanced sense of meaning
  10. Be kind to yourself- Positive self talk has been known to have psychological benefits including reducing feelings of stress and depression

Practicing these tips will help boost an older adult’s wellbeing while also promoting healthier aging!

Connect with other people

Connecting with other people is a vital component of mental health for older adults, as loneliness and isolation can be damaging to both physical and mental wellbeing. Whether it’s through phone calls, video calls, online interactions or in person visits, finding ways to reach out to others is essential.

This could involve staying in touch with family members or friends; joining a local club or class; joining online communities; or volunteering. Making sure that you have at least one good friend can help provide comfort during difficult times. If it is possible for you to do so, having face-to-face contact with someone from your social circle can be highly beneficial.

Sharing stories, connecting over shared interests and having someone who makes you feel valued are all incredibly important aspects of maintaining healthy mental and emotional wellbeing.

Be physically active

Being physically active can help your child go back to school with more ease. Physical activity releases endorphins, which can boost mood and reduce feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress. Try to find an activity that your child enjoys and look for ways to incorporate physical exercise into their daily routine.

  • This may include going on a bike ride together or taking a leisurely walk around the neighborhood.
  • Not only will this have a positive effect on their mental health, but it will also give them some time away from screens and provide quality bonding time between parent and child.

Learn new skills

Learning new skills can be a great way for older adults to stay engaged and challenge themselves cognitively. Whether it be picking up a new hobby, learning another language, or exploring a different type of technology, learning something new can have positive effects on mental health.

While physical activity is important for overall well-being, it’s also important to involve activities that engage the brain as well. Learning a new skill allows older adults to stay connected to their communities, try new things and even exercise their problem-solving skills. Additionally, engaging in learning activities can lead to greater social connection with those in similar circumstances, providing the opportunity to make new relationships while developing an enjoyable pastime.

Give to others

When it comes to helping a child or teen with unhealthy social media use, one of the most effective ways you can help is by teaching them the power of giving to others. Research shows that when we give and help others, our own sense of self-worth and happiness increases. That’s why charity work or volunteering is so important; it not only helps people in need, but it also benefits the giver.

By encouraging your child or teen to find ways to give back – whether that’s through baking cookies for the elderly, mentoring a younger child or doing their part in local cleanup initiatives – they’ll start seeing how their actions can make a difference. This will not only help them build valuable life skills, but also develop an understanding of social media use as one way among many others they can do good in the world.

Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)

Mindfulness is a practice of focusing on the present moment as it is. It can be a powerful tool to help older adults cope with stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Mindfulness can be practiced in many different ways such as meditation, yoga, walking in nature or simply paying attention to one’s breathing. Even simply setting aside time each day to pause and observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment can be beneficial.

Mindfulness helps focus our awareness on the present moment without judging ourselves or others harshly— something especially important for older adults who may feel overwhelmed from life changes or difficult situations. The practice of mindfulness encourages being gentle with yourself by acknowledging your inner experiences without attaching meaning or judgement to them. Practicing mindfulness allows us to become aware of our physical sensations such as our breath, physical pain or tension in our body which can help relieve stress and build resilience.

Mental Health Tips for Seniors

Mental health is just as important as physical health for seniors, even though it may often be overlooked. As someone ages, there are many changes in their life that can lead to mental health issues such as loneliness, depression and anxiety. It is important for seniors to focus on their mental wellbeing and practice self-care to ensure their emotional wellbeing.

Seniors should take time out of their day for relaxation and engage in enjoyable activities or hobbies that bring joy and purpose into their lives like listening to music, reading books, doing art projects, gardening or taking up a new language. They should also strive to remain connected with friends and family members by engaging in meaningful conversations through telephone calls or video chats.

If bad days come up, seniors should seek professional help if the feeling persists. They can also reach out to nearby support groups such as senior centers or befriending services that offer companionship and peer support. Lastly, practicing mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress levels and provide a sense of calm.

Start Your Day Right

Starting your day right can be one of the best things you can do to manage and prioritize your mental health during the holiday season. This begins with setting your alarm an appropriate amount of time before you need to start your day. Give yourself time to wake up slowly and get ready for the day. Make sure to have a nutritious breakfast as well, as that is essential for helping maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Additionally, it’s important to make sure you are taking time for self-care in the morning. Whether it’s reading a book, writing in a journal, stretching, or taking a few minutes to meditate; ensuring that you are taking time for yourself can help set the tone for your day and help reduce stress and anxiety. Make sure that you give yourself permission to take this time – it is important!

Exercise Regularly

Exercising regularly is one of the best ways to ensure good sleep quality for older adults. Regular physical activity helps to improve circulation, increase energy throughout the day, and reduce stress and anxiety. This can also help create more regular sleep patterns for those who struggle with insomnia or feel too tired during the day.

Exercise should be done at least four to five times a week for at least 30 minutes per session, but it’s best to check with doctor regarding specific recommendations and which exercises are right for you. It’s important to note that if you are exercising too late in the evening it can disrupt your circadian rhythm and make it harder to fall asleep, so try to exercise before 6pm.

Stay Connected With Friends and Family Members

Staying connected with friends and family members is a great way to raise awareness about mental health. This is especially true for older adults, who may feel isolated due to retirement or mobility issues. Creating a network of people to reach out to can help foster a sense of connection, support, and security when it comes to dealing with mental health struggles.

You can encourage weekly check-ins with loved ones via phone calls or video conferences so that everyone in the group can stay up-to-date with each other’s well-being. Additionally, Facebook groups have become increasingly popular for staying connected with friends and family members even if you’re not able to physically meet up for coffee or tea. Connecting through social media can help reduce feelings of loneliness and provide support where it’s needed most.

Keep Yourself Busy

As we age, our mental health needs change and evolve. It is important for older adults to find ways to stay engaged and connected as they age. Here are some practical tips to maintain good mental health in aging individuals:

  1. Maintain a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, fiber and whole grains.
  2. Stay socially engaged through activities both in-person and virtually with friends and family.
  3. Find activities that you enjoy that stimulate your mind such as puzzles, reading, art or music making.
  4. Get plenty of physical activity every day for improved mood and well-being.
  5. Take time to reflect and practice gratitude each day for improved outlook on life circumstances.
  6. Seek help from a physician or mental health professional if needed or seek support from trusted family members or friends in times of need.
  7. Explore the option of joining a club or volunteer group if looking for more social engagement opportunities.
  8. Get involved in meaningful activities such as gardening, crafting or cooking which offer purposeful engagement.
  9. Challenge yourself by learning something new, this could be writing a book, learning how to use technology, mastering a new language, etc.

By following these tips you will have better chances of maintaining good mental health throughout your older years!

Get a Pet

As people age, physical health concerns can become more challenging. In addition, mental health is often overlooked in this age group but is equally important for overall well being.

One practical tip for maintaining mental health for older adults is to get a pet. Pets provide unconditional love and companionship which can help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, especially among seniors who live alone or have limited social contact. In addition to friendship, caring for a pet can be a great way to practice self-care and stay active which can increase life satisfaction. Finally, the presence of a pet has been linked with improved physical health by reducing stress levels and providing calming comfort which may lead to better sleep quality. All of these benefits help contribute to overall mental health in older adults.

Start a Creative Project or Hobby

Crafts and hobbies are a great way for older adults to stay physically and mentally active. Not only can these activities provide an enjoyable distraction from everyday life, but they can also help reduce stress and improve overall mental clarity.

Creative projects or hobbies can give seniors an opportunity to explore different mediums and techniques, as well as develop skills such as problem-solving, flexibility, focus, and creativity.

Examples of creative projects or hobbies include:

  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Pottery
  • Photography
  • Woodworking
  • Sewing
  • Quilting
  • Sculpting
  • Crafting sculptures out of items like rocks or driftwood

Starting a creative project or hobby may take some time to become acclimated with the activity but can help provide an outlet for self-expression that is both therapeutic and satisfying in the long-run.

Keep an Active Mind

One of the most important ways to maintain mental health is to keep an active mind. Keeping mentally stimulated by engaging in activities such as reading, puzzles, and games can help maintain cognitive functioning and reduce the risk of depression and other mental illnesses.

In addition, it is important to stay socially connected with family, friends, and community groups. Socializing with others provide emotional support which can help reduce feelings of loneliness or isolation which are common among seniors.

Finally, staying physically active is also important for improving mental health. Regular exercise can help boost mood levels and reduce stress through the release of endorphins in the brain. As such, incorporating physical activity into your daily routine can be beneficial for both physical and mental wellbeing.

Get Enough Sleep and Eat Well

Getting enough sleep and eating nutritious meals are key elements of mindfulness, or living in the present moment. Sleep is essential for mental health, allowing your body and mind to rest and repair itself. Nutrition also plays an important role in maintaining good mental health. Make sure you’re eating a variety of foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals like fruits, vegetables, and proteins. Eating balanced meals can help regulate your blood sugar levels and balance hormones that contribute to mood swings.

Additionally, habits like drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help keep your body hydrated and functioning at its best. Finally, stay away from processed foods as these often lack essential vitamins and minerals that help nourish your brain.

Tips for Older Adults Living at Home

Living independently as an older adult can be a rewarding experience. Whether you’re living alone or with a partner, there are certain mental health tips you can follow to create a happier and healthier home life.

  • First, make sure to connect regularly with friends, family, and neighbors. It’s important to stay involved in your community and maintain meaningful relationships that provide social support and creative stimulation.
  • Additionally, try to find activities that bring joy—even if it’s something as small as a weekly game night with friends or volunteering for an organization you care about.

It’s also important to pay attention to your physical health. Make time each day for an activity such as walking or light exercise, practice mindful meditation techniques and get plenty of restful sleep each night. Eating healthy foods is also essential—be sure to choose nutritious meals rich in vitamins and minerals to keep your mind sharp. Finally, don’t forget about mental health treatments such as therapy if needed—it can be very helpful for older adults when navigating difficult transitions like retirement or the death of a loved one.

Start your day

Beginning your day mindfully is a great way to set yourself up for success and helps to get the most out of each day. A good place to start is by setting realistic goals for yourself. This could include eating healthy meals, taking medication regularly, getting plenty of rest, or starting a moderate exercise routine. Starting each day with positive intentions can help to keep you motivated and focused.

You should also be mindful of how you’re feeling physically and emotionally. It can be helpful to check in with your body as soon as you wake up—take notice if you feel stressed, anxious or just not right. You should also pay attention to any physical aches and pains that may be lingering from the day before or arise during the morning hours. Finally, take a few moments at the start of the day to connect with your thoughts and emotions—what energizes you? What might be draining your energy? Taking this time for mental care puts you in control of how your day will progress.

Find time to exercise

Exercising is an important part of having a healthy lifestyle, and its benefits extend beyond physical health. Exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety levels, improve sleep quality, increase concentration levels and self-esteem, and even sharpen decision-making skills. It is particularly beneficial for emotional well-being as it releases endorphins which are hormones responsible for making us feel better.

For older adults, the CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic activity each week. This can include activities such as walking, running, swimming or biking at least 10 minutes at a time. Strength training two days per week is also suggested to maintain muscle strength and improve balance. Yoga classes are increasingly popular for older adults since they involve stretching and breathing exercises that promote relaxation.

It’s important that older adults find time in their day to get moving – even if it’s just going for a walk around the block or doing some light stretching at home – in order to reap all the mental health benefits that come with exercising regularly:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety levels
  • Improve sleep quality
  • Increase concentration levels and self-esteem
  • Sharpen decision-making skills
  • Promote relaxation

Stay connected

Staying connected is an important way for employers to help their older employees maintain good mental health. Being part of a social network helps people feel more connected and supported, builds self-esteem and prevents loneliness.

Employers can encourage their older workers to stay connected through communication, team building activities and social media. Encouraging older employees to keep in touch with colleagues, reach out for help when needed and attend activities organized by the company are all ways employers can ensure that their staff stay connected.

Additionally, employers can provide support on an individual level by:

  • Checking in with the employee regularly to ask how they’re doing.
  • Helping them adjust to a new role or environment.
  • Allowing flexible working hours that accommodate health needs.
  • Providing access to counseling services if needed.

By showing they care about the well-being of their staff, employers create a more positive atmosphere in the workplace which can have a huge impact on mental health.

Start a project that inspires you

Sometimes after a stressful week, it can be difficult to motivate yourself to do anything on the weekend. Whether it’s a creative project or starting a blog, dedicating time to something that sparks your interest can alleviate anxiety and bring more joy into your weekend.

Choose an activity that you find fulfilling and stick with it—even if it’s only for an hour or two. Doing something that you truly enjoy helps increase positive emotions, which can help reduce stress. Just remember to be realistic about what you can accomplish; don’t set yourself up for failure with unreachable goals.

Take care of your mental health

Veterans face many unique challenges when transitioning out of the military and into civilian life, including financial troubles, difficulty finding a job, and adjusting to a new lifestyle. Additionally, they often experience mental health issues that may have resulted from their time in the service or been exacerbated by the transition process. It’s important for veterans to recognize the signs of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression and reach out to receive help if they are feeling overwhelmed.

Veterans should take proactive steps to maintain their mental well-being during and after the military transition. This includes:

  • Establishing a support system of family members, friends, and/or professionals with whom veterans can share their struggles.
  • Understanding how stress affects their physical health.
  • Learning how to manage difficult emotions.
  • Creating a plan before making decisions.
  • Setting realistic goals for themselves.
  • Engaging in meaningful activities such as volunteering or joining support groups.
  • Practicing self-care through exercise or relaxation techniques.
  • Developing healthy coping skills such as expression through art or music.
  • Advocating for resources and support from local VA program offices ​to help handle some of the challenges associated with transitioning from military life.

FAQs about: mental health tips for older adults

Q: What are some healthy ways to cope with stress?

A: Stress can be managed in a variety of ways, such as through exercise, deep breathing, talking to a friend, or taking a break from the stressful situation. Additionally, finding a creative outlet and engaging in activities you enjoy can help reduce stress levels.

Q: What are some strategies for improving mental health?

A: Strategies for improving mental health can include getting enough sleep and regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and connecting with others. Additionally, activities like mindfulness, meditation, and deep breathing can help relax the body and mind.

Q: What are some warning signs of mental health issues in older adults?

A: Warning signs of mental health issues in older adults can include changes in sleep patterns, decreased interest in activities they once enjoyed, social withdrawal, increased irritability, and difficulty concentrating. If you are concerned about yourself or someone else, it is important to reach out for help.

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