As people enter their senior years it is not uncommon for their mental health to make a shift. This is often a period filled with significant changes and transitions, which can all play a role in the presence of anxiety and depression. One of the top ways to help relieve some of the effects of these mental health concerns is to increase mobility. Making an effort to get moving each day can help seniors to maintain their mental health and combat some of the negative effects that they may be experiencing.
Causes of depression and anxiety in older adults
There are a number of different factors that can lead to depression and anxiety in seniors. With so many changes occurring during this period of life, being aware of some of these initial triggers can help them to stay ahead of the game and recognize some warning signs.
- Health problems such as illness, disability, pain, surgery and cognitive decline
- Medical conditions like stroke, cancer, diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
- Recent deaths of friends, family members, a spouse or pets
- Reduced sense of purpose, for example when they retire or if health issues create physical limitations on activities they previously enjoyed
- Isolation and loneliness due to a reduced ability to take themselves out of the house
- Side effects of medication
Positive effects of improved mobility
There are many positive effects to improving mobility, and many will play a role in reducing the effects of anxiety and depression. Some of the top benefits include:
- Reduced loneliness and increased socialization
- Increased confidence
- Endorphins that come from exercise are natural mood boosters to help combat depression
- Helps them sleep better
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Increased ability to age in place
Top ways to improve mobility
There are a number of activities that can help seniors get moving each day. While some seniors may struggle with a significant level of activity, the positive effects can often be experienced with just a few minutes of increased activity each day. Even seniors who aren’t able to stand or walk unassisted can benefit from a variety of seated exercises.
Some top ways that seniors can incorporate movement into each day include:
- Park a bit further from the store in order to have a longer walk to the door. Parking next to the cart return allows them to take a cart right away if they need a bit of support while walking into and around the store.
- Go for a walk around the block. Bringing a rollator walker or cane will help ensure that they can stop and rest as needed, and have the support they need to walk safely.
- Do chair workouts. Activities like yoga, weightlifting and light cardio can be done from a chair, which will benefit those who aren’t able to stand or walk for lengths of time.
- Dance. Whether it’s to music in the kitchen or in an organized dance class, dancing can help motivate seniors to have fun while they increase their mobility.
- Take the stairs. When faced with the option, take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator if it’s an activity that can be undertaken safely.
- Go swimming. Doing water aerobics or going for a leisurely swim is a great low impact workout, especially for those who may struggle to perform similar exercises outside of water.
Increase mobility with the help of a rollator walker
Many seniors need physical support in order to improve their mobility, and a rollator walker is the perfect solution. The support that a rollator walker offers to a user will allow them to improve their mobility in a safe and supported way. Incorporating physical activity into a daily routine can be as simple as going for a walk with a friend or doing some housework or gardening. The benefits that come with increased mobility will have a positive effect on anyone struggling with mental health issues like depression and anxiety.