They’re called our “golden years” for good reason; growing older brings with it an abundance of advantages, including greater wisdom, the freedom to enjoy life minus the responsibilities of a career and young family to raise, plus the opportunity to spend more time with family members and participating in activities we enjoy.
Yet it’s not free from its share of challenges, too. Losing family and friends, persistent health issues, together with normal physical and cognitive changes inherent in the aging process could lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions – in as many as one in five seniors, according to recent statistics reported by Nursing@Georgetown. That translates 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 extremely dangerous for senior loved ones. It is the leading risk factor for suicide, which has been steadily rising within the U.S.
What exactly can you do in order to help ensure older adult mental health and maintain the wellbeing of the older adults you love?
- Watch for warning signs. Look out for feelings of hopelessness, guilt, pessimism, helplessness, irritability or worthlessness, loss of interest in enjoyable activities, changes in sleeping or eating habits, exhaustion, or struggles to focus and remember details, and particularly if there are any thoughts of suicide expressed.
- Check with the older adult’s physician as quickly as possible. Explain the signs you’re observing and arrange for a consultation for a mental and physical health assessment. The physician can determine if your senior loved one is dealing with depression or another underlying condition that mimics depression, review medications for any potential adverse reactions, and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.
- Most significantly, never ignore any suicidal thoughts or tendencies. A senior who points to 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.
Grace Home Care’s professional Topeka senior care services can help brighten everyday life for older adults in a variety of ways. Our cheerful, compassionate care companions are always available to spend quality time with seniors, engaging in conversations, games, enjoyable outings, hobbies, puzzles, reminiscing, and much more, according to each person’s particular interests.
Other ways we are able to help include:
- Preparing healthy, delicious meals
- Maintaining a tidy and organized home environment
- Providing medication reminders
- Motivating seniors to stay physically active through doctor-approved exercise plans
- And much more
Contact us any time at 785-286-2273 to let us know about the challenges your senior loved one is facing, and request a free in-home assessment for more information about our Topeka senior care services.