The Importance of Emotional Wellness for Seniors

Jun 13, 2023 | Blog, Life at Park Place

If you haven’t seen the movie “A Man Called Otto,” it’s about a grumpy, lonely widower whose life is turned upside down when new neighbors knock on his door. Over time, Otto is able to build relationships with his neighbors, gain a positive outlook and move forward with his life. A therapist might say he’s improved his emotional wellness.

What is emotional wellness?

Emotional wellness is the ability to successfully handle life’s stresses and adapt to change and difficult times. It includes how you feel about yourself and being able to express your feelings in healthy ways. Psychologists describe emotional wellness as “the combination of feeling good and functioning effectively.”

How emotional wellness can improve your life.

Research suggests that having a positive outlook can benefit your physical health. A Yale study, for example, found that seniors with a positive view of their lives lived an average of 7.5 years longer than those with negative views.

More recently, a 2019 study found that optimists had an 11% to 15% longer life span than pessimists. Research has also shown a link between optimism and a stronger immune system, better cardiac health and reduced risk for Alzheimer’s.

In addition to making you more resilient to illness, adopting a positive mindset about aging helps you reduce stress and experience more joy in life. Retirement brings all kinds of stressors, including shrinking social circles and difficulty finding a sense of purpose after leaving your job. Learning how to manage stress can help you bounce back from difficulties faster.

If you’re feeling more stressed than usual, try these tips to strengthen your emotional wellness:

  • Exercise regularly. Just 30 minutes a day of walking can boost mood and reduce stress.
  • Eat well-balanced meals. Healthy, nutritious meals help regulate cortisol levels and other stress hormones.
  • Get enough sleep. Most adults need seven or more hours each night.
  • Build a social support network. Spend more time with family and friends. Surround yourself with positive, healthy people.
  • Show compassion for yourself. Note what you’ve accomplished at the end of the day, not what you didn’t.
  • Practice relaxation techniques. Meditation, yoga, tai chi and deep breathing exercises can help you relax and stay grounded in the present.

How life at Park Place supports emotional wellness.

There are several factors that contribute to emotional wellness. First is a positive outlook on life. At Park Place, our maintenance-free lifestyle gives residents more time to do the things they enjoy. Instead of focusing on a to-do list, they can find satisfaction and fulfillment doing things that enrich their lives, which makes them feel positive and enthusiastic about life.

Second are a strong social network and sense of community. At Park Place there are classes, social events, recreational activities and volunteer opportunities where residents can share experiences, learn from others and make new friends. Residents also have access to support groups, worship services and spiritual activities to support their well-being. Whether or not they come from similar backgrounds, residents quickly become part of a vibrant, supportive, fun-loving community that improves their quality of life.

Third, residents of Park Place have a greater sense of control over their lives. As a Life Plan Community, we offer a full continuum of health services on-site at predictable rates. With a smart plan in place, residents and their families don’t have to worry about the what-ifs should their health needs change. It all adds up to a healthier, happier lifestyle.

To learn more about our approach to wellness and how it can improve every aspect of your well-being, get in touch. Contact us today at 630-936-4504.