There’s a common misconception that mental health isn’t something that impacts older people when the truth is that it can and does. When an older person ends up in a care home because they can no longer cope alone, their mental health and wellbeing can take a huge hit. That’s why it’s so essential that care facilities take the mental health of their residents seriously because otherwise, they can struggle when it comes to their wellness.
Studies have shown that nearly 6.5 million US seniors suffer from depression, with seniors who live independently having the lowest risk of depression. Whereas, four out of five seniors with depression live in care facilities. Despite these statistics, depression and other mental health problems in seniors are often overlooked.
To better understand what causes mental health problems in seniors and steps that can be taken to prevent them, have a read of the guide below. If you’ve got a parent or loved one in a care facility, this kind of advice can be incredibly useful.
What impacts mental health in seniors?
Research has suggested that like in younger people with depression, if older people stay physically active, socialize and are kept mentally engaged, their mental health tends to improve. The issue comes when a care facility does not care for a senior in the way that they deserve, failing to look after them with the dignity that they require. When this kind of mistreatment occurs, it can have a serious impact on the person’s mental health and wellbeing, in addition to their physical health. For this reason, many families of older people who receive poor quality care choose to contact an elder care attorney, to protect their loved one’s rights.
What can be done to prevent mental health problems in seniors?
While we commonly don’t think of food being linked to mental health, the truth is that various studies have, in fact, found that food does link to mental health. Not eating enough of the right foods, such as fruits and vegetables can increase Alzheimer’s risk, for instance. While not eating enough omega-3 rich foods is linked to mood swings and schizophrenia. Processed foods have been found to negatively impact mental health due to the trans fats that they contain, having an impact on hormones within the brain that create happiness.
Another way that mental health in seniors can be improved is by ensuring that they get plenty of time to socialize. This not only includes socializing with people their own age but also with the whole family, especially with younger relatives such as grandchildren or great-grandchildren. According to experts in senior mental health, socialization is the key to being happier in later life, which is why it’s so vital that seniors have plenty of chances to socialize, even when living in care facilities.
Pet therapy is a form of therapy that studies have shown has the potential to be highly effective when it comes to preventing and managing mental health problems. Due to the amazing results seen in pet therapy studies, various care facilities have begun using pet therapy as a regular part of their schedule, to help prevent mental health problems and make life more enjoyable for the seniors in their care.
Mental health problems are far more common in seniors living in care facilities than in seniors living independently, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the case. When a senior is given the opportunity to take steps to look after their mental health, it becomes easier to prevent these problems from occurring.
Source: Dr Julian Existing Website feed