Mental & Emotional Health
Mental health decline is sadly labeled as “normal part of aging” by some cultures, while others view issues like memory loss, disorientation, diminished spatial orientation and dementia among the elderly as abnormal, their older adults keeping a sound mind and remaining active in their community way into their 100s. Genetics seem to play a role, but is not the only or main explanation for these differences.
Research points at many possible factors interacting to promote or adversely affect mental health during the aging process. These factors span from nutrition and brain stimulating activities that promote neuroplasticity, to living in an environment that promotes longevity through policy or traditional cultural practices.
Emotional health and aging seem to follow a similar trend as mental health does (not surprising, considering emotions and cognition interact and influence each other), with some societies showing ever climbing numbers of depression, mood disorders and suicide among the elderly.
There are many things you can do to promote optimal mental and emotional health as you age (the sooner you start the better, but never too late to start), and various ways you can get involved to help our older adults enjoy life in communities that promote healthy longevity.