Older Adults and Mental Health

They’re called our “golden years” for good reason; aging brings with it a variety of benefits, including greater wisdom, the freedom to experience life without having the responsibilities of a career and young family to raise, and the opportunity to spend more time with family and friends and engaging in pursuits we enjoy.

Yet it’s not free from its share of concerns too, of course. The loss of loved ones, persistent health problems, in addition to normal physical and cognitive changes inherent in aging might lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues – in as many as one in five seniors, according to recent statistics reported by Nursing@Georgetown. That equates to as many as 7 million senior Americans living with depression – 60% of whom are not getting treatment for the condition.

Left untreated, depression is incredibly dangerous for older adults. It is the leading risk factor for suicide, which has been continuously rising in the United States

To address the growing concerns surrounding older adults and mental health, Hearts at Home In Home Care recommends the following:

  1. Watch out for warning signs. Keep an eye out for feelings of guilt, hopelessness, helplessness, pessimism, irritability, or worthlessness, loss in interest in rewarding activities, changes in sleeping or eating habits, fatigue, or struggles to concentrate and remember details, and particularly if there are any thoughts of suicide expressed.
  2. Consult with the older adult’s health care provider at the earliest opportunity. Explain the signs you are observing and arrange for a consultation for a physical and mental health evaluation. The doctor can determine whether your senior loved one is experiencing depression or any other underlying condition that mimics depression, review medications for any potential adverse reactions, and recommend an appropriate plan for treatment.
  3. Most importantly, never ignore any suicidal thoughts or tendencies. A senior who brings up suicide as a way to relieve the pain he or she is experiencing should always be taken seriously, and prompt medical attention should be sought. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can provide further, confidential advice: 800-273-8255.

Hearts at Home In-Home Care’s professional senior home care in Kansas City can help brighten everyday life for older adults in many ways. Our friendly, compassionate care companions are always available to spend quality time with seniors, engaging in conversations, games, enjoyable outings, hobbies, puzzles, reminiscing, and so much more, according to each person’s specific interests.

Other ways we can help include:

  • Planning and preparing delicious, healthy meals
  • Maintaining a tidy and organized home environment
  • Providing medication reminders
  • Motivating older adults to stay physically active through doctor-approved exercise plans
  • And so much more

Email or call us any time at 913-440-4209 to let us know about the challenges your loved one is facing, and request a free in-home consultation to learn more about our professional senior home care in Kansas City and the surrounding communities.