Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month? The role of our mental health has never been more apparent than during these difficult times. Mental health is also an important part of the health for our seniors. Here are some numbers and stats to help show just how and why better mental health must be a key part of senior care:
- Among seniors over age 60, more than 20% have a mental or neurological disorder.
- Seven percent of those age 60 or over live with depression, according to the World Health Organization. Some reports from other groups believe the percentage is actually higher.
- Health problems such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia often lead to depression.
- The highest suicide rate is among adults age 65 or older, according to DoSomething.org.
- Some medication side effects can be associated with depression.
- Anxiety is thought to affect 3% to 14% of older adults, according to Mental Health America.
- Loneliness, which can contribute to depression, is a common and well-known problem among seniors.
So, just what can you do as a family member or caregiver of a senior to help keep their mental health in check, particularly during Mental Health Awareness Month? Here are a few tips.
1. Watch out for changes in behavior associated with mental health problems. This can include a change in sleeping habits, obsessive thinking, changes in mood, increased worry, and a reliance on alcohol or drugs.
2. Encourage them to stay active. Physical activity has so many health benefits and can help lessen the effects of anxiety and depression.
3. Set up a doctor’s visit if you suspect mental problems such as anxiety or depression. Doctors can review medications prescribed to see about unwanted side effects and provide a referral to mental health professionals as needed. Doctors also may consider mental problems that may not be on your radar, such as an eating disorder.
4. Call the Suicide Prevention Line if your senior loved one is having suicidal thoughts or is talking about killing him or herself. The number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
5. Help your senior loved one to stay active physically and mentally. An engaged life with connections to others can help ward off mental health issues.
Call Secure Aging to Find Out How We Can Help Seniors With Care Management
At Secure Aging in Bradenton, we transform the weight of the world into a sigh of relief for our senior clients and their concerned family members. The mission of Secure Aging is to protect and preserve our client’s independence and dignity through careful and thoughtful financial and care management. As our clients’ age, it is their desire to remain independent and age with dignity. Our services protect our clients from talented con artists looking to exploit and deplete the financial resources of our vulnerable seniors. Secure Aging helps families in Manatee County and Sarasota County and in and around the communities of Anna Maria, Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Ellenton, Holmes Beach, Lakewood Ranch, Longboat Key, Myakka City, Palmetto, Parrish, and Sarasota. Call us at 941-761-9338, or visit us online at www.secureaging.com.