Mental Health, Motivation, Relationships, Such is life, The Folks

How to address Mental Health of senior citizens in India #CauseAChatter

“Child is the father of man” ~ William Wordsworth. I can still clearly recall how animatedly George Sir, our English teacher in school, explained the meaning of this beautiful idiom to us. Although my amateur mind couldn’t entirely fathom the deep meaning hidden behind those words back then, I’m fairly certain that now I can. The elders in our life viz our parents, family, teachers, etc richly contribute towards the person we become. They nurture us by planting the seed of kindness in our hearts and liberally enrich it with the light of wisdom and the flow of knowledge. Isn’t it our moral responsibility then to ensure that they’re cared for and the mental health of senior citizens in our life is given prominence and timely addressed?

My Dad was homebound and alone for 6 months during the lockdown last year. While I grumbled about piled-up work and lost sense of self, he patiently convinced me that ‘this too shall pass’. Even though it was genuinely comforting, his positive outlook baffled me no end. I wished I could think like him. However, the fear and frustration from then are now replaced with widespread infections, crumbling of our healthcare system, and worse, countless fatalities. Death has engulfed our families and close ones, rudely making us aware of its infinite power. So much so, that my cheerful Dad has marginally lost his optimism too. The mental health of senior citizens, hence, is now more important than ever. Pandemic or not, what can we do to prepare them better for this phase of life?

how to address mental health of senior citizens in india_avibrantpalette

Stimulate their mind

Remember how we invented new activities for our kids when they were younger? Old age isn’t much different than that, although one cannot expect elders to be as compliant. A stimulated mind keeps you alert, occupied and is a wonderful companion. Motivate them to take up reading, introduce them to video games and puzzles or encourage them to maintain a gratitude diary. Learning to play an instrument or a new language can be good options too if they’re interested. Let them take up something they will enjoy, not for distraction.

Get in touch with friends

A morning walk in the park or gossip over an evening cup of tea are events elders look forward to. It is their time to fraternise, exchange updates and grouse about the bad state of our economy. Social media has helped create a window to their past where they can reacquaint themselves with their long lost buddies. The daily Good morning messages on Whatsapp may be annoying but that’s their way to demonstrate their love. Laughter clubs are a superb way to handle mental health of senior citizens too. My Dad, like any typical man, hardly recollects birthdays or anniversaries but is the first one to wish anyone on Facebook. Isn’t that cute? Don’t judge them over how they choose to spend their time, they’ve earned that right.

Be physically fit

Old age is marred with multiple heath complications, many of which are easily preventable. Lifestyle diseases like blood pressure and diabetes often invite issues like anxiety and depression. Persuade them to take up any physical activity and make it a habit. Walking, Yoga, stretching, light weight training, breathing exercises are good for physical as well as mental health. These will keep them in good shape, infuse positivity and also keep their joints lubricated. A healthy mind in a healthy body, after all!

Volunteer work

Sometimes people have the intent and means but not the time to invest in volunteer work. There are a wide range of non profit organisations that can benefit from the assistance of an experienced professional. Teaching underprivileged children, partnering with various clubs for social work, giving a hand in community kitchens, hospitals, etc are some ways in which they can volunteer. However, mental health of senior citizens and their safety should be the topmost priority.

Find a new hobby

Fast-paced and competitive life robs people off their love for hobbies. Retired life is the best time to explore new things. Motivate them to make a bucket list if they haven’t and offer to do your bit to tick items off it. Gardening, cooking, playing a new sport or travelling the world are fun hobbies to find time for. These will not only boost their confidence but also make them socially active. With spouses or alone, egg them on to be the ‘coolest grandparents’ in the vicinity by simply enjoying themselves!

As we grow up the strong hand that held our little finger while we took our first step becomes fragile, wrinkled and craves support from us instead. What better than giving it the purpose and enthusiasm to always be the stronger one? Mental health of senior citizens like our parents, relatives and even neighbours is our responsibility. They’re going through a challenging time of their lives and possibly averse to sharing their real fears with you. You still understand them, don’t you?

This post is part of #CauseAChatter with Blogchatter

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27 thoughts on “How to address Mental Health of senior citizens in India #CauseAChatter

  1. You have picked a very important topic Varsha. “Don’t judge them over how they choose to spend their time, they’ve earned that right.” thats so true . We cannot neglect their mental health. In their days, there was no such word like mental health. We are privileged to know about it and we have resources to handle it. Lets use them and help the elder citizen to handle it.

  2. It is a very difficult time for seniors, stuck indoors and the fear all around. I felt better reading this, been on my mind all day today.

  3. Yes I agree that this time is really hard for senior citizens and they need extra support from us to keep themselves mentally strong to deal with this adverse situation. finding a new hobby is a great idea to keep them creatively engaged. trying out new things add a new energy to existing routine and help in reducing pandemic anxiety too.

  4. The life of senior citizen is tough especially when kids go nuclear. The current lock down and pandemic has made the situation worst. you have shared some incredible ideas to ensure overall mental wellness. My father in law currently feels isolated, I am going to follow these

  5. Good tips. At the moment my father in law mostly talks to his friends and family, plays with my kids and plays a few board games with us. Cannot do volunteering and all now.

  6. Getting old actually people need more attention as they need more support Love.. Making them feel more comfortable and easy is really important to understand at times.

  7. This is the age when senior citizens have ample of time as they are done with their responsibilities . Suck inside their house is really terrible for them. I am glad my in-laws are with me and being tech savvy they keep in touch with their friends. They spend time with my kuds and reading with them. They need that emotional support from us which them keep them mentally relaxed.

  8. Getting old is tough. When kids move on, everyone around you is busy and you have to find ways to be busy and active. You have shared wonderful tips.
    As for me I know, I’m spending my old age reading and traveling with my hubby to keep my sane and happy.

  9. Oh yes as they say an ideal mind is a devil’s workshop and people of my parent’s age have nothing much to do so they start worrying even for the minutest thing in the world. I am glad that my mom has revived her love for knitting and curtesy her my house is overloaded with winter wear. 😀

  10. A new hobby is an excellent recommendation. Definitely something i noticed in the elders in my family, new interests and hobbies keeps them busy and means they have something to look forward to everyday and new people to interact with.

  11. Parents have right to choose how they spend their time. Having a walk and talk with same age people is also very important that is lost in the pandemic, but getting to handle social apps is a blessing for all. Staying active with the hobby is the best one could do.

  12. Getting in touch with their friends is something that I haven’t thought of. Yes, it is the best way to bring happiness as connecting with old friends is a stimulant for happiness.

  13. This post made me feel better. Elderly people are equally suffering just as our children are. It’s unfortunate that no one ever talks about it these days. Thanks for writing this down for us.

  14. Mental health can affect anyone and you have rightly mentioned that keeping them busy with activities and other things that they like can help them cope with it better.

  15. A very relevant article in today’s day and age. Well written and made for a good read. Pandemic has left senior citizens fend for themselves when they should have a sturdy community and government support system.

  16. Life of senior citizens , who are living alone has taken a hit during the current times. We should be empathetic and do whatever we can to make them feel loved.

  17. Mental issues and problems are need to be discussed, and for elderly people who are reliving their second childhood suffers a lot with their mental issues. Happy to read your tips to handle this!

  18. The post came at a time when we definitely need to address this. Mental health shouldn’t be a taboo anymore and must be taken seriously. I have saved this and will be sharing it with other for sure 🙂

  19. yes young ones are not only affected mentally during this lockdown but old age too. they also need proper care and attention. you have shared all the valuable points.

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