Skip to main content
Flu and COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) Prevention Efforts Learn More - Flu and COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) Prevention Efforts

5 Practices to Help Seniors Stay Mentally Strong

By: Commonwealth Senior Living / 03 Mar 2023
5 Practices to Help Seniors Stay Mentally Strong

As you age, your mental strength is tested daily. Keeping your mind healthy can directly impact your overall well-being. According to the American Psychological Association, one in four older adults will experience depression, anxiety, or dementia, so exercising your body as well as your mind to reduce those struggles is vital. Here are a few practices that you can put to good use!


Loneliness can creep in unexpectedly. This, along with isolation and distance from others, can be signs of depression. This is not uncommon for seniors as many of their family members and friends may have moved away over the years. Talking to an online therapist and learning different coping strategies is a great first step to becoming more comfortable with socialization again.

Staying in touch with family is another simple tip. Schedule time to take the grandkids to a movie and ice cream or invite everyone over for dinner. If your family doesn't live close by, you can also try video chatting through different platforms like FaceTime, Zoom, or GoogleMeet. The same goes for long-distance friendships as well!

It can be nerve-wracking to make new connections and hard to maintain friendships, but there are so many simple ways to connect. If you're looking to make new friends, try going to community events. Make it a habit to do activities with your new friends by grabbing some lunch together or playing card games.


You've probably been told how important exercise is throughout your life. Making sure to include some movement in your daily routine is even more important as you age. Your joints and bones aren't as strong as they were before. Not only does exercise keep us physically healthy, but it also shows great benefits to our mental health.

While exercising, your body releases endorphins, which are mood-boosting chemicals, and increases the flow of both blood and oxygen to your brain. These endorphins make you feel good and increase cognitive function at the same time. Whether you choose to do some stretching exercises or enjoy nearby walking trails, getting your heart rate up to release the mood-boosting endorphins will leave you feeling great.

Simulate Your Brain

Our brains benefit from staying active through activities like doing puzzles, playing chess with friends, or completing crosswords. Not only are these brain-stimulating activities good for our mental health, but they also help slow cognitive decline.

Brain games can help strengthen your thinking skills, reaction time, short-term memory, and processing speed according to Harvard Health Publishing. They keep your mind engaged and help you use your problem-solving skills to find a solution. Some of the most accessible brain games are right at your fingertips. Reading and writing, playing games like Sudoku on your phone, or completing a puzzle have all been proven to enhance mental health and function.

Additionally, reading stimulates your brain and allows you to learn new things at the same time. You can read about a specific topic of interest, maybe even a love story. You could even learn a new skill like how to play an instrument, learn a new language, or how to crochet. Trying new hobbies can help you stay focused, enjoy the lifestyle you deserve, and positively impact cognitive function along the way. Now you can enjoy playing these brain games and hobbies all while knowing you'll reap their mental health benefits.

Get Plenty of Sleep

Getting less than seven to nine hours of sleep each night increases the chance of cognitive decline, falls, or other accidents at home. To set yourself up for a good night's sleep, try these few simple changes:

  • Follow a regular sleep schedule. Set a time each night you'd like to be asleep and create a nighttime routine that will allow you to be in bed and fall asleep before your desired time.
  • Engage in relaxing activities. Try turning down the lights, taking a relaxing bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soft music.
  • Set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature. Having a consistent temperature that is too cool or too warm can be dangerous, not to mention unconducive for great sleep.
  • Avoid screen time close to bedtime. The light given off by televisions or your phone can sometimes make it even harder to fall asleep.

According to the National Institute on Aging, there are many ways you can set up a safe space to sleep as you age including:

  • Keeping a lamp near your bed to turn on if you have to get up during the night.
  • Making sure the floor is clear of objects that could become tripping hazards in the middle of the night.

Adopt a Pet

Who doesn't love a furry friend? Having a pet as a senior comes with so many benefits. Not only is a pet a built-in companion, but they can also help seniors stay active, boost their immune systems, and help manage depression, loneliness, and anxiety, according to the CDC.

Before moving forward with adopting a pet, be sure you know how to and are ready to take care of them. Don't be afraid to ask for help in caring for them, hire a dog walker, or find a mobile grooming service. If you have trouble walking, a dog might not be for you. Instead, a cat might be a better choice. You should also want to consider your pet's age when adopting it. Young kittens and puppies have high energy, but older cats and dogs may be demanding to take care of as well. Find a pet at the right age for you so you can take care of them properly.

After working your whole life, it's now time to enjoy yourself. By consistently putting some of these practices into play in your everyday life you'll be able to reap the many benefits of taking care of your mental well-being.

Take a look at our signature programs and other stimulating activities our Center of Excellence has on the calendar this month.

Find more readings