According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, over 1.8 million Canadian citizens over the age of 60 have been diagnosed with a mental health problem as of 2016. Seniors with mental health issues like dementia and depression may be at greater risk of becoming isolated, increasingly stressed, and even developing physical health problems. With such high stakes, it is imperative that these seniors receive effective care in order to help improve their condition and better their quality of life.
Health care assistants (HCAs) can use simple methods and activities to help contribute positively to their clients’ mental wellbeing, such as encouraging them to socialize to improve their overall mood, or take up hobbies to stimulate their minds. Read on to find out more.
HCAs Can Encourage Their Clients to Be More Physically Active
Both mental and physical activity can be essential to improving a client’s mood and cognitive function. For example, going for a leisurely stroll may help a client to relax and reflect on the events of the day, as well as providing some vital fresh air and vitamin D.
HCAs can also encourage their clients to exercise regularly, using low impact activities like yoga and swimming to help improve their mood and reduce any physical discomfort which might be contributing to their issues.
Healthcare Assistant College Graduates Can Encourage Clients to Try Mentally Stimulating Hobbies
For more mental stimulation, professionals with healthcare assistant training can recommend that their clients draw or play board games, both of which have been shown to improve cognitive function and memory by stimulating certain parts of the brain.
These activities can also be great opportunities for clients to socialize, bringing together seniors with similar interests in a fun and creative space. Other hobbies such as gardening, arts and crafts, and knitting could also help to keep clients’ minds actively engaged. Many of these activities also have the additional benefit of improving a client’s manual dexterity.
A Proper Diet Can Greatly Benefit a Client’s Mental Health
Depending on the client’s taste and tolerance, and with an awareness of any allergies, graduates of healthcare assistant college can suggest that clients eat certain vitamin-rich foods to help boost their cognitive function.
However, they should avoid foods with too much processed sugar, as they may cause a spike in energy that depletes quickly and leads to a crash. Instead, HCAs can suggest their clients eat blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries if they prefer sweets, as these fruits contain natural sugars and healthy antioxidants.
Clients may also benefit from eating salmon and spinach, as both contain omega 3, which is great for the brain and can help improve memory. What’s more, salmon helps release tryptophan, a chemical that can create more serotonin in the brain and help to improve a client’s mood. Clients can experiment with different kinds of grains, fruits, and healthy fish and meat and see which diet works best for them.
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