Mental Health and Wellness as We Age
According to the World Health Organization, between 2018 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years will nearly double, from 12% to 22%. Mental and neurological disorders among older adults account for 6.6% of the total disability for this age group, making them more vulnerable to mental health issues. In fact, the World Health Organization reports that approximately 15% of adults aged 60 and over, suffer from some level of mental disorder.
At The Springs Living, we’re committed to addressing these issues by creating communities that embrace and encourage social activities, finding new hobbies (or continuing old ones), staying or becoming physically and mentally fit, and eating healthy.
Exercise for your Body: A recent Swedish study found that exercise is the number one contributor to longevity, adding extra years to your life—even if you don’t start exercising until your senior years. But it’s not just about adding years to your life; it’s about adding life to your years. National Institutes on Aging (NIH), reports exercise helps you maintain your strength and agility, increases vitality, improves sleep, gives your mental health a boost, and can even help diminish chronic pain. Exercise can also have a profound effect on the brain, helping prevent memory loss, cognitive decline, and dementia.
Exercise for your Mind: There are many good reasons for keeping your brain as active as your body. The Health in Aging Foundation reminds us that exercising, keeping your brain active, and maintaining creativity can actually help to prevent cognitive decline and memory problems. The more active and social you are, and the more you use and sharpen your brain, the more benefits you will get. This is especially true if your career no longer challenges you or if you've retired from work altogether. Finding hobbies, or re-engaging in hobbies you used to enjoy, are great ways to sharpen your mind.
Engaging with Others: Lack of social support is related to negative impacts on health and well being, especially for older people. Support from others can be important in reducing stress, increasing physical health and defeating psychological problems such as depression and anxiety. The National Council on Aging reports depression is a true and treatable medical condition that older adults are at an increased risk of experiencing. Depression is more common in people who also have other illnesses (such as heart disease or cancer) or whose functions become limited. The good news, says Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is that the majority of older adults living in a community setting are not depressed. Some estimates of major depression in older people living in a community setting range from less than 1% to about 5% and rise to 13.5% in those who live alone.
Eating Healthy: As you age, your relationship to food may change. Decreased metabolism, changes in taste and smell, and slower digestion may affect your appetite, the foods you can eat, and how your body processes food. The key is figuring out how to adapt to your changing needs. Now, more than ever, healthy eating is important to maintain energy and health. The Art of Delicious, our culinary program at The Springs Living, is a philosophy that celebrates both the preparation of great food and the dining experience itself. The Art of Delicious means partnering with and purchasing from local farmers and producers with a focus on fresh, seasonal foods and delivering meals that are both nutritious and delicious. “Making and sharing food with people every day is ultimately about creating community,” explains Sam Currie, Director of Culinary Services of The Springs Living. Every day, residents enjoy the Art of Delicious while sharing their meals in various dining venues. Creating this community around dining, plus sourcing local, organic ingredients, means healthy eating is easy to achieve for seniors living in a community where their individual diet needs are completely taken care of by a professional.
Mental health and wellness is something everyone, no matter their age, need to nurture and address. Each chapter of our lives brings on different types of stress, and also different opportunities to adapt and face those challenges. Knowing that you’re not alone, and are part of a community, makes life easier at every stage. Access to healthy food, state of the art gyms, fitness programs designed for older bodies, and stimulating events, are just part of the way The Springs Living makes life just a little easier each day.