This month brings World Mental Health Day. Each year in October we are reminded that some people may be struggling with their mental health, even if they may not seem like it on the outside. In 2020, feelings of poor mental health are increasing due to the news, canceled events, and low social connections. For many Seniors, having good mental health contributes to their overall wellness.
Do Older Adults Really Struggle With Mental Health?
The CDC found that approximately “20% of people age 55 years or older experience some type of mental health concern.” With the most common including anxiety, severe cognitive impairment, and depression. Plus, people with depressive disorders can have adverse impacts on the course of treatment for other physical ailments. They also found that “depressive disorders are a widely under-recognized condition and often are untreated or under-treated among older adults.”
This means that more older adults are struggling with mental health than you might assume, and these struggles can negatively impact their overall health because it’s often left untreated.
What Contributes To Good Mental Health For Older Adults
Everyone, including the older adults in our lives, need social and emotional support. This includes talking and sharing emotions, sharing informational advice, and providing instrumental support like keeping a clean home and having healthy food. This kind of social and emotional support is known to reduce the risk of mental and physical illness.
It’s important for all of us to keep in mind that our loved ones may need support but may not directly ask for the assistance they need. At AmeraCare we know that good mental health is an important factor in overall wellness! We see our patients regain confidence when they practice skills in Occupational Therapy, and build healthy habits with our dietitians.
How Can We Help The Older Adults In Our Lives
During the coronavirus, it’s also important for at-risk individuals, including older adults, to have a small social circle to avoid the risk of catching the virus. This may mean avoiding in-person contact with our loved ones. However, it’s still very important to be invested in the social well being of the older adults in our lives. Making sure to call regularly via phone or video is key when we can’t connect in person!
Get creative in ways you can help add mental stimulation to their days. Do you miss playing games like Scrabble or Chess in person? Many apps on phones and computers make it easy to play online! Make sure to encourage your loved ones to keep doing the activities they can do safely from home like listening to music, reading, and prayer.
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