The elderly people are at increased risk of developing or worsening mental disorders. They are the ones most often affected by the effects of loneliness and age-related life changes, such as insomnia, apathy, depression, neuroses, and anxiety disorders. Left to their own devices, seniors are often unable to cope with illness, daily chores and the remoteness from social life caused by retirement. How can you help elderly relatives in this situation? Find out how hiring a live-in carer can improve mental health in older people, and what ways there are to support someone with a mental disorder. By doing so, you will improve the health and quality of life of seniors close to you.
Why are older people more prone to mental health problems?
Mental health issues can occur at any point in life regardless of age, lifestyle, and financial situation. However, statistics do not lie, and certain mental health disorders are much more likely to affect older people. What influences the prevalence of mental health problems among older people?
There are many reasons. Among the most common are social isolation resulting from the cessation of work, bereavement, and widowhood, as well as declining health and mobility problems. The end of working life translates into changes in social functioning that are not easy to cope with. Limited social contact or a sense of not being needed can reinforce loneliness and can result in depression, insomnia, apathy, eating or anxiety disorders. Mental health in the elderly is a delicate matter that is worth taking care of because, if neglected, it can lead to tragic consequences such as suicide. That is why it is worth keeping an eye on the mental health of the elderly and knowing ways of supporting someone with mental health.
What are the symptoms of declining health in seniors?
While many symptoms are specific to one disorder or another, there are a few common signs that tell us the mental health elderly is deteriorating. These include:
- profound sadness
- loss of interest in all areas of life, even pleasant activities of daily living
- neglect of daily chores and personal hygiene
- intense tiredness
- pessimistic outlook on life
- feelings of guilt and worthlessness
- trouble sleeping or too much need for sleep
- loss of or increased appetite
- chronic pain
How to help improve the mental health of the elderly?
The topic of mental disorders is quite sensitive, especially among the older generation. Our parents’ and grandparents’ generation grew up believing that only crazy people attend psychologists. Fortunately, this myth is slowly becoming a thing of the past. As a result, we have healthier and happier people and fewer suicides every year.
If you suspect a mental illness in an elderly relative or know they are having a tough time in life, these are the most important ways to support someone with mental health issues:
- Have a frank conversation with your senior and ask about their mental health.
- Provide education about mental health – you can find hundreds of articles, videos, and books online to help you explain to your seniors that they need help.
- Spend time with your senior – offer to go to the movies, and restaurants or participate in an art activity together, and if you cannot, call often.
- Offer and pay for visits to a psychiatrist or psychotherapist – explain that such a visit will help them and make sure the senior goes to the doctor.
- Hire a live-in carer to help with daily chores and provide transport and companionship.
How can a live-in carer improve the mental health of the elderly?
The help of a live-in carer is one of the best ways to provide home mental health care. Such a professional can not only make life safer and more comfortable, but literally, save it by providing support during difficult times.
Help with diagnosis
The state of mental health in the elderly is not easy to determine. Older people often treat the subject of mental illness as taboo and rarely talk about their troubles. A live-in carer, however, spending a lot of time with the senior citizen can spot the first signs of trouble and react in time.
Help with everyday tasks
Physical and mental health problems in the elderly are common, and this makes it even more difficult for seniors to lead normal life. And this is where a live-in carer comes into play to ease the burden on the senior. Such a professional will provide a balanced diet, and help with cleaning, cooking and personal hygiene.
Help with moving around
One of the most common reasons for depression in the elderly in the UK is social isolation. And this too can be remedied by a live-in carer who will drive the senior to classes, and doctors’ appointments or accompany them on outings.
Socialisation and companionship
Finally, the most important thing a live-in carer provides for the elderly is companionship. Such a person establishes a genuine relationship with the senior, is a confidant and a guardian who provides support in the worst and best of times. And that is the quintessential benefit of home mental health care.
Mental health in the elderly – conclusion
The topic of mental health in the elderly is not the easiest one, but it is better to have this difficult conversation with your senior before it is too late. Therefore, stay on your toes and sincerely recommend psychological help and emphasise that it is a doctor like any other. By doing so, you could save someone’s life.