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It's Time to Talk About Seniors' Mental Health

Dee Bustos

Health And Wellness

Oct 10, 2022

7 min read

Every day, people around the world are confronted with mental health issues. It can be difficult to get help, but that doesn't have to be the case.

October 10 is World Mental Health Day, and it's a time to take a moment to reflect on what mental health means for seniors.

In this blog post, we'll discuss some of the most common factors that affect seniors’ mental health and how to best support them.

Aging and Mental Health

As we get older and begin to experience the natural changes that come with aging, it's important to recognize that our mental health may also be changing. Many seniors experience depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, or other issues related to their mental health as they age.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is estimated that 20% of people aged 55 years or older experience some type of mental health concern. It's important for seniors to talk about their feelings and concerns if they are struggling with their mental health so they don't feel alone or stigmatized by society.

How do we begin talking about mental health? We can start by acknowledging the factors that affect it. For seniors, these can be the following:

Factors that Affect Seniors’ Mental Health

- Emotional distress from the loss of a spouse or partner

- Financial stress from retirement or other life changes (such as caring for adult children)

- Medication side effects. Some drugs prescribed for physical ailments can cause mental problems, such as depression, confusion, and memory loss.

- Moving from home into an assisted living facility can lead to depression or anxiety in older adults.

- Social isolation. Many seniors live alone and may have fewer opportunities for social interaction than younger people do — which can lead to depression and other mental health problems.

- Physical health issues. Seniors often have more than one chronic condition at a time, which can make them more vulnerable to mental health problems.

Ways to Support Seniors’ Mental Health

It's important to support seniors' mental health and make sure they're getting the right support. Here are some ways you can help your senior loved one stay mentally healthy:

- Make sure you know the signs of mental illness in seniors.

- Always be there for them, especially if they're feeling depressed or anxious.

- Try not to ask too many questions if they're sad or angry, but do check in with them regularly and make sure they're okay.

- Give them space when they need it, but also make sure they're not alone for too long (especially if they have dementia).

- Be patient. It takes time to recover from depression, anxiety, or other conditions. Be patient with your loved one and yourself as you learn what works best for both of you.

- Listen carefully when they talk about their feelings—and really listen! Try engaging in conversation with them instead of just waiting for them to finish talking so you can respond.

- Give them a sense of purpose by engaging them in meaningful activities like volunteering or taking part in social activities or hobbies that bring joy to their life – they might surprise themselves by finding that they enjoy these new hobbies after all!

- If you suspect that your senior loved one might have some form of mental illness, it’s important to seek professional help from your doctor or a mental health specialist who can perform an evaluation and determine whether additional tests are needed.

As we all know, mental health affects everyone. It's important to be aware of how to best support those around us who may be struggling. If your loved one has mental health issues, providing them with care is an important step in addressing their needs. There are organizations and medical professionals that specialize in helping people with mental health problems.

For seniors who need support in staying mentally healthy while aging in place, home care or home health care can help. These services provide assistance with daily living tasks, offer companionship to provide comfort and reassurance, and clinical care to those who are suffering from cognitive issues common among older adults such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. With the right care, you can help improve your senior loved one’s quality of life. Reach out to the leading home care or home health care provider near you to discuss your loved one's needs and to determine the best care option.

Dee Bustos


Dee Bustos

Chief Executive Officer

Visionary. Optimist. Tech-savvy and results-oriented. Loves to sing during her almost non-existent spare time. Her motto: Dream BIG

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