If you have a family member or a loved one who is ill and needs to start living in an assisted living facility, then you likely want to choose the facility wisely. This is best for the well being of your loved one, especially if they have depression. Depression is actually quite common in older adults, with over two million individuals over the age of 65 with the mental disorder. Thankfully, depression is a condition that can be treated and controlled, even if your family member does not want to take medications for the disease. You can help encourage mental health by making sure that the assisted living facility has certain features and attributes that can help to control depression. Keep reading to learn about a few things you should look for.
Social Gatherings And Outings
Many older individuals become depressed when they realize that they have lost some of their independence. Also, seniors may start to feel isolated when they move away from friends, family, and neighbors. These things can cause depression to set in or to worsen. To help reduce feelings of isolation, loneliness, and reduced independence, make sure the facility you choose provides activities and outings where your family member can socialize.
Studies show that socialization helps to reduce depressions risks and it also reduces depression symptoms. While you may email and call your loved one so they remain social, evidence suggests that face to face socialization is required to keep depression at bay. Also, the lowest levels of depression are seen in older individuals who meet with friends and family in person at least three times a week. This type of communication helps to strengthen social relationships, and strong relationships are needed to retain mental health.
Ask about social gatherings and outings when you look at assisted living facilities. Make sure the activities are ones where individuals can communicate and interact with one another. For example, outings to a local museum or shopping center allow for more substantial interactions than a game of bingo or a trip to the local movie theater.
Specific places like a facility coffee shop, dining area, or garden are advantageous as well. This will allow your loved one to seek out face to face interactions with others once they feel confident.
You may know that exercise can boost your mood by releasing endorphins into the body. This is one way that exercise can help your loved one. Physical activity can also reduce cognitive deterioration and it can help to encourage good memory retention and planning. Exercise can increase focus as well. It can do these things by encouraging the formation of new blood vessels to the brain. This allows oxygen and vital nutrients to feed the brain tissues so it can function better. Physical activity also assists with the formation of connections between neurons. These connections help to make the brain work quickly and accurately.
To encourage physical activity, make sure the assisted living facility has a pool, gym, or a designated area where aerobics classes are held. Low impact exercises that include walking, swimming, dancing, biking, and aerobics classes are best to reduce physical strain on your loved one's body while they enjoy their exercise. You also should ask if there is a certified exercise science professional on staff. This will help your family member learn about appropriate exercise routines that will not strain the muscles, joints, and bones.
Depression in older adults can be quite challenging, especially if your family member can no longer live at home. However, assisted living facilities like Grace Assisted Living sometimes have great amenities that can help to keep your loved one mentally fit. Make sure to speak with someone at your local assisted living facility so you can learn more about how the facility can help your family member with depression.