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The Winchester Journal

Healthy Aging Means Preventing Depression in Seniors

| 08/2/18


Did you know that as you age, you have an increased risk of depression? The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tells us that 80 percent of older adults have at least one chronic health condition, and half of them have two or more. Depression is more common in people with chronic health conditions (like heart disease or Alzheimer’s disease) or whose functions become limited.

Luckily, there are ways seniors can reduce their risk of depression or other mental health problems, even if they already suffer from some type of chronic health condition. All it takes is a little education, motivation, and the right environment.

4 Ways to Focus on Senior Mental Health

Studies show that around 68 percent of adults aged 65 and older know little or almost nothing about depression. Your mental and emotional health is so important for quality of life. Although common, depression is never a normal part of aging. It can be prevented with the following tips:

Always keep moving.

Staying active is one of the best ways you can keep your mind (and body) healthy. Exercise releases feel-good chemicals that reduce feelings of sadness and improve mood. In fact, studies show a clear correlation between physical health and mental health. When we say “keep moving” we’re not just talking about exercise that gets your heart rate up – we’re also talking about staying active in general. If you can, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Opt for a walk instead of watching a movie. Try to stay on your feet as much as you physically can. Just move!

Get involved and be social.

Getting out of the house and interacting with other people can be the last thing you want to do if you’re feeling depressed. But along with staying active, it’s one of the best ways to improve your mood. Not only does participating in activities and events offer a good distraction and get you “out of your head”, it can also release feel-good chemicals if you’re enjoying yourself. And social isolation is a key factor leading to depression and other mental health conditions in older adults.

Take up a new (or old) hobby.

When living at Winchester Gardens, this mental health tip is easier than ever! We have so many fun activities and hobbies for you. Achieve inner peace in an armchair yoga class or enjoy a stimulating conversation about the latest bestseller. Engage your brain and have fun with friends at Trivia Happy Hour or tap your toes along to music at Tea and Tunes. Excited to see the latest exhibit at the Frick or Whitney? Want to stroll through the world-famous museums in Manhattan? Sign up for a monthly bus trip to immerse yourself in the diverse world of arts and culture in New York City or right here in Essex County.

Set a goal and think positive.

Having something to look forward to or work towards is a great way to keep the mind active, positive, and engaged. We understand the importance of wellbeing and working towards goals, and our LivWell program was designed to create personalized opportunities for our residents to accomplish and thrive. Whether you love swimming or woodworking, want to walk a 5k or dance at your granddaughter’s wedding, we believe in providing every opportunity to allow residents to never stop learning or growing, as we know this leads to the best sense of wellbeing.

Stay Positive and Engaged in Life at Winchester Gardens

At our continuing care retirement community in Maplewood, New Jersey, every aspect of your health is important to us – including your mental health. That’s why along with vibrant living options, we provide numerous opportunities for residents to keep their mental and emotional health strong – and we hope you’ll see for yourself by taking a tour of our community. Schedule your visit today.