They are called our “golden years” for good reason; growing older brings with it an abundance of benefits, including increased wisdom, the freedom to experience life without having the responsibilities of a job and young family to raise, together with the opportunity to spend more time with family members and engaging in pursuits we enjoy.
Even so, it is not free from its share of challenges too, of course. The loss of close friends and family, chronic medical conditions, plus the normal physical and cognitive changes inherent in the aging process may lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues – in as many as one in five seniors, based on recent statistics reported by Nursing@Georgetown. That translates to as many as 7 million senior Americans living with depression – 60% of whom are not receiving treatment for the condition.
Left untreated, depression is extremely dangerous for senior loved ones. It’s the leading risk factor for suicide, which has been steadily increasing in the United States
So, what can you do in order to address senior mental health in an older adult you love?
- Watch for warning signs. Keep an eye out for feelings of hopelessness, guilt, pessimism, helplessness, irritability or worthlessness, loss in interest in rewarding activities, modifications to sleeping or eating habits, exhaustion, or struggles to concentrate and remember details, and especially if there are any thoughts of suicide expressed.
- Consult with the older adult’s health care provider as soon as possible. Explain the signs you are observing and arrange for an appointment for a mental health and physical evaluation. The physician can determine if your senior loved one is experiencing depression or any other underlying condition that mimics depression, review medications for any possible side effects, and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.
- Above all, never ignore any suicidal thoughts or tendencies. A senior who mentions suicide as a way to relieve the pain she or he is enduring should always be taken seriously, and prompt medical assistance should be sought. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can provide further, confidential advice: 800-273-8255.
Inspired Home Care, Barrington senior care provider for the surrounding areas, can help brighten everyday life for seniors in a variety of ways. Our friendly, compassionate care companions are always available to spend quality time with older adults, participating in conversations, enjoyable outings, games, puzzles, hobbies, reminiscing, and more, according to each person’s particular interests.
Other ways we can help include:
- Planning and preparing healthy, delicious meals
- Maintaining a clean and organized home environment
- Providing medication reminders
- Motivating seniors to stay physically active through physician-approved exercise plans
- And much more
Contact us online or give us a call any time at 847-787-7572 to let us know about the challenges your loved one is facing, and request a free in-home consultation for more information about how our compassionate senior care services can help.