According to World Health Organization, the aging population in the whole world grows rapidly. From the year 2015 to 2050, it is expected that the ratio of the world’s aging population over 60 years will be doubled, from 12% to 22%.
Around 15% of seniors aged 60 and above suffer from mental and neurological disorders. These disorders account for 6.6% of the entire disability for this age cluster. Seniors face unique physical and mental health challenges which must be identified.
What Is Mental Health
It includes our psychological, emotional, and social well-being. It influences how we think, feels, and behave as we manage our daily life. It also aids in choosing how we manage stress, connect to others, and make choices in our life. Mental health plays an important role at every stage in our lives, from childhood and adolescence to adulthood and aging.
Mental Health Problems Of Seniors
Some of the mental health issues of seniors are isolation, affective and anxiety disorders, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and psychosis. A lot of numbers of seniors also suffer from sleep and behavioral disorders, cognitive degeneration, or confusion conditions as a result of physical disorders.
Depression has a huge impact on health in aging adults. depression may be overlooked as a weakness, or it may be considered an unavoidable result of life changes, chronic illness, and disability. The feeling of sadness, hopelessness, regret, anxiety, or incapable to enjoy things are some of the common symptoms of depression.
Dementia is a reduction in mental capability which affects memory, thinking, problem-solving, attention, and perception. While there is no cure for dementia, there are treatments that can aid individuals to live well with it.
Warning Signs Of Mental Health Problems
- Changes in attitude, energy level, or appetite
- Having issues with feeling positive feelings
- Issues in sleeping patterns
- Having a hard time concentrating and feeling restless
- Anxiety or feeling stressed
- Irritability or aggressiveness
- Alcohol or drug dependent
- Suicidal ideas
- Obsessive-compulsive behavior
- Behaviors that interrupt work, family, or social life
How To Improve Mental Health of Seniors
Encourage Physical Activities
Seniors can perform low-impact activities like walking, simple yoga, and exercises that can be beneficial both for their mind and body. It also boosts their confidence and reduces the risk of common age problems like bone fractures, joint pains, and other chronic diseases. Physical activities of old adults can also help in managing stress, anxiety, and depression. It helps to keep positive mental health for seniors.
Boost Their Cognitive Function
Seniors not only need physical activity to remain healthy, but the brain also needs stimulation to stay sharp and avoid cognitive deterioration. Brain games can aid in certain thinking skills such as processing speed, planning skills, reaction time, judgment, and short-term memory.
Some other activities like reading, writing, playing instruments, o learning a new language can help in brain boost brain functioning in seniors. Activities that keep the mind engaged and functioning towards solving problems donates to brain health.
Connect Them With Friends And Families
For seniors, keeping in touch with the important people in their lives can alleviate loneliness and feelings of isolation that may direct to depression and even mental and physical deterioration. Distance and time can make it difficult for seniors to maintain close relationships with friends as they age.
Knowing how to connect with friends on social media is just some way to stay in touch with others. Seniors can also keep it simple by writing letters or simple phone calls.
Let Them Try A New Hobby
Staying active after retirement is essential. It is the perfect time for seniors to check things off their bucket lists and pursue lifelong goals. It promotes healthy living, relieves stress, and tries to learn new things.
Hobbies are a healthy and valuable method for older adults to redirect their concentration away from the stresses of everyday life. The idea is for them to find the things they look forward to, moving their mind’s focus out from their problems and onto the enjoyable activities they have.
Get Them A Companion Pet
Pets can offer outstanding companionship and with their unconditional love, these animals can help keep the seniors active and busy. Studies show that the bond between humans and animals can improve wellness, lower stress, and bring happiness. If they don’t want to or are unable to own a pet, volunteering at an animal shelter is also a great way to connect with animals.
Mental Health Is Very Important For Seniors
Seniors need to look after their mental health. Without a healthy and stable mind, they are susceptible to physical illnesses and diseases. By doing mind-healthy activities, seniors can greatly benefit and will help them tremendously in the long run.