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Independence and Mental Health

Mon, May 25th, 2020

Independence and Mental Health

When you think about the mental health of a senior citizen, the first thing you might ask yourself is, "are they too lonely?" Although chronic loneliness is not a mental health problem, it can affect your emotional and physical health. There is a balance between spending some alone time and being alone too much of the time.

It's important to make sure the senior in your life is getting some "alone time" but not spending too much time alone. The ability to maintain a sense of independence is very important for the mental health of seniors.

In this blog, we'll discuss the appropriate time to determine when the senior citizen in your life needs to be more independent along with tasks they can conquer to give themselves a sense of accomplishment.

What to Look for

Whether you're a husband, wife, son, daughter, or caregiver of a senior citizen, it's very important to understand that every circumstance is different. The individual you're taking care of could be extremely motivated but lack the physical and mental tools to tackle certain tasks. In other scenarios, your loved one or patient might possess all of the necessary tools, but lack motivation. It's pivotal not to enable lazy behavior. Physical activity (depending on the situation) and mental stimulation can improve/maintain mental health and self-esteem.

The key is to encourage independence through appropriate activities while making sure the senior you are caring for is safe. As needed, provide verbal or physical cues and even assist with a task when you see them having some difficulty as to not cause frustration and allow for the successful completion of the task.


*Before beginning any physical activities, it's imperative to consult with a medical professional.

A few physical activities to consider are:

  • Going for walks
  • Walking within the home to get meds, snacks, water, socks, etc.
  • Walk to the mailbox to get the mail
  • Lift appropriate weights or band exercises (your physical therapist can provide a home exercise program)
  • Practice hand-eye coordination activities while seated

Some mental activities for senior citizens are:

  • Reading (purchase large print books as needed)
  • Crossword Puzzles
  • Sudoku Puzzles
  • Geography/math games (be creative)
  • Board games where the whole family can be involved
  • Simple meal prep (follow an easy recipe and provide assistance as needed)

Accomplishing some of these tasks daily can give a senior citizen confidence while improving/maintaining their mental health to help them lead a more independent lifestyle. Also, when you make time to involve them with family and friends, chronic loneliness can be eliminated.

Bell House Medical

It's very important to understand the physical and mental limits of the loved one/patient you are caring for so appropriate activities can be implemented into their daily life.

Bell House Medical offers numerous mobility solutions such as lift chairs, walkers, canes, grab bars, a vertical platform lift and much more to help the senior citizen in your life lead a physically and mentally active, independent lifestyle!

(302) 644-4404