Mental health includes one’s social, psychological, and emotional well-being. It affects how you think, act, and feel as you cope with life. Moreover, it helps determine how you relate to others, make choices, and handle stress. That’s why mental health is crucial as you age.
For older adults, it’s even more essential to pay attention to their mental health. It’s because most seniors are at risk for mental health issues. However, it doesn’t mean that such problems are normal when aging.
Older adults may experience particular life changes that may impact their mental health, including losing a loved one and coping with a serious disease. Even if many people would adjust to such life changes, some may suffer from loneliness, grief, and social isolation. Once such feelings persist, these may result in mental illnesses such as depression.
Fortunately, effective treatment options and aged care service providers similar to HenderCare and others are available to help seniors improve their quality of life and manage mental health. Read the guide below to learn more about mental health care for older adults.
Signs Of Mental Health Problems In Older Adults
Recognizing the warning signs is one of the first steps to getting the right treatment.
Some of these may include the following:
- Feeling hopelessness or sadness
- Feeling numb
- Changes in energy level or mood
- Withdrawing from activities
- Disconnecting from other people
- Feeling scared, worried, confused, or upset
- Aggressiveness, anger, or irritability
- Drinking, smoking, or using drugs
- Thinking of harming others or yourself
- Believing things that aren’t true and hearing voices
- Having negative thoughts
If you notice some of these signs, it’s time to seek help from mental health care experts. These professionals can provide counseling for mental health, proper medications, therapies, or other treatments that may help treat mental health issues in older adults. If you’re confused about the options, consult your senior loved one’s primary healthcare provider.
Mental Health Care Tips for Seniors To Consider
There are various ways to care for the mental health of older adults. To stay mentally healthy, here are some of the tips one can consider:
1. Consider A Mental Health Care Plan
A mental health care plan is suitable for individuals with mental health issues who have several healthcare specialists working with them. It explains the support provided by every professional and when treatment must be provided and may include health professions including psychology services. A care plan may also include what to do to avoid relapse or crisis.
Doctors will also use a care plan to help determine what services are ideal for older adults’ needs, decide on suitable treatment options, and set goals. In other cases, doctors may contribute to the care plan that somebody else organized.
Having a mental health care plan is beneficial in many ways. Not only does it help set and achieve goals, but it also provides life-saving details in emergencies. Moreover, a care plan ensures everybody is involved and working on the same goals to provide older adults with the care they need.
2. Eat Well And Get Enough Sleep
Eating well and getting enough sleep are always crucial for one’s mental well-being. Older adults are prone to illnesses, so not eating properly or getting enough sleep may result in mental or physical health problems.
Older adults are encouraged to practice healthy habits and sleep at least seven hours at night. Refined carbohydrates and sugary food are highly discouraged. Instead, seniors should eat whole-grain foods, vegetables, and high-fiber fruits to stay mentally and physically healthy as well as be more energetic.
3. Get Physical
Any form of physical activity and exercise can benefit the body and mind. Staying active may also help seniors age well and have optimal health.
For seniors, strength training and stretching are necessary for them to prevent joint pain as well as bone fractures. Aside from the apparent benefits, exercise may also aid in managing depression, stress, and anxiety in older adults, which could be detrimental to their health. So, regular exercise is vital to have sound mental health.
4. Have A Pet
There are many advantages to taking care of pets. One of these is that it helps adults to be busy and active. Pets also offer companionship and comfort.
The companionship of pets can help older adults feel loved. They also lessen feelings of loneliness or isolation. This is why seniors taking care of pets have better mental health and are less likely to be prone to anxiety and stress.
5. Have A Hobby
Another mental health care tip to consider is trying a new hobby. Retirement allows older adults to pursue their lifelong goals and complete their bucket lists. Hobbies, including shadow boxes, may help boost the brain’s neuroplasticity. When it happens, the nerve cells reconnect or connect, modifying the brain’s function and structure when stimulated by seeing them repetitively.
As the neuronal connections are strengthened, older adults may gain a sense of belongingness and comfort, improving their mental health.
6. Keep An Active Mind
Staying active, particularly during the senior years, has countless positive impacts on one’s mental health. By having a busy mind, most parts of the brain will activate. To maintain this, older adults may enjoy intellectually challenging activities such as answering crossword puzzles, playing chess, reading, or learning a new language. All of these are fun and can boost brain function and activity.
7. Stay Connected
For most older adults, keeping in touch with special people in their lives may help stave off feelings of isolation and loneliness that may result in physical and mental decline. Learning how to connect with old and new friends on social media and mobile devices is one way to stay in touch. Seniors may also keep it simple by setting up regular schedules or writing letters.
Older adults must be wary of their mental health. Without a stable and healthy mind, they’re more vulnerable to some physical conditions and ailments. By implementing the above tips, any older adult can achieve better mental health, allowing them to enjoy life to the fullest without any worries. Consider the ideas mentioned here as you plan and prepare.