It is problematic that mental health amongst seniors is often untreated and overlooked. Many seniors have to deal with anxiety, depression, and mental stress – all of which reduce their overall quality of life. Fortunately, it is possible to ensure that your loved ones are doing OK.
Why do seniors experience mental health issues?
According to the latest statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 20 percent of people over the age of 55 have some form of mental health condition such as depression, cognition issues, bipolar disorder, or anxiety. The one that is usually the least recognized is also the most common amongst seniors – depression.
Depression may be because of isolation, loneliness, the death of a loved one, or retirement. Other times it may be because of a medical condition. If these problems are ignored, they are not only likely to get worse, but will eventually take away the person’s independence. Fortunately, it is possible to help alleviate these conditions.
How you can help
It is possible to help seniors return to a happier, healthier life and recognize these early symptoms. These are just a few suggestions to try:
Connect – It is important for seniors to connect with others regularly. Isolation is only going to promote sadness and loneliness, both of which can be detrimental to mental health. This can be something as simple as staying in touch via email or phone. Older adults also need the option to be able to interact with others. If this is not possible in their old home, it may be time to consider an assisted living facility. Social interaction and friendship building can help mental health
Exercise – Exercise for both the body and the mind can help with some mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. When it comes to alleviating symptoms of depression, exercise may be just as effective as medication. A change of scenery and fresh air can also help boost someone’s mood. Mental exercises, including games and puzzles, also help. Learning new things means that the brain is being strengthened.
The importance of finding a good facility
Unfortunately, mental health amongst seniors is still overlooked and not often talked about. Just one of the many reasons that it is a good idea to have your loved one move to an assisted living facility to be more social – even if it is not necessarily “physically necessary” yet.