13 June 2017

Health and Happiness in the Twilight Years: How Can You Help?

Mental health and mental illness can be a concern at all ages. When people start to get older and reach their latter years, we can sometimes neglect to think about the effects of mental illness. The focus is often on issues such as dementia, but we might forget to think about other illnesses elderly people could experience, such as depression and anxiety. As people get older, it's important to pay attention to their mental health, as well as their physical health. Elderly people can be at risk of loneliness and isolation, which can exacerbate mental health issues. If you have elderly relatives or you're even planning your own care when you're older, here are some things to think about.
The Importance of Socializing--

Loneliness is a huge problem among senior citizens. Many live alone, might not have family close by, and can lose touch with friends. Some people might find it hard to leave their home, leaving them isolated inside. It's extremely difficult for people to cope when they don't have a lot of interaction with others. The lack of company can lead to depression and other mental health issues. Finding ways to deal with this problem is one of the best things you can do for someone. There are several ways to get someone socializing, from hiring home help to getting in touch with charities that provide events and companions.

Helping Parents and Grandparents to Retain Autonomy--

When a person gets older and starts to be unable to do some things on their own, it often means that they require some care. This can be difficult for many people to deal with and can affect their self-esteem and general mood. It's hard to accept that you might need someone to help you do everyday things. One thing that can help is choosing the right care option. Working with a senior to help them stay in their home lets them "age in place" and maintain control of their surroundings. Seniors for Seniors also thinks it's best for carers to be a similar age. They suggest hiring a companion who has shared experiences and can help to build a relationship that's more akin to friends than carers and patients.
Getting the Right Treatment for Mental Illness--

Ensuring that seniors receive the treatment they need for mental illness is essential. However, the first step might be to get a diagnosis, which isn't always easy. Some people are reluctant to visit health professionals, especially about matters concerning their mental health. If you're already in touch with a medical team for physical health matters, this is a good place to start. You can speak to existing doctors about any concerns you might have.
Approaching the Subject--

To get a diagnosis or treatment, you need to be able to discuss mental health issues with your loved one. If you want to open up the conversation, it's best to choose a time when you can both talk calmly. You won't always get through on the first try so you might need to be prepared to try again later. In some cases, acquiring power of attorney could be the best option.

It's important for everyone to look after their mental health, but it can become a more pressing matter as we age. If you help to look after a senior relative or friend, you can help them manage their mental as well as physical health.