They are called our “golden years” for good reason; getting older brings with it many great rewards, including increased wisdom, the freedom to experience life minus the responsibilities of a job and young family to raise, together with the ability to spend more time with family and friends and engaging in activities we enjoy.
Even so it is not without its share of challenges too, of course. The loss of family members, recurring health conditions, plus the natural physical and cognitive changes inherent in the aging process can cause anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions – in as many as one out of five seniors, based on recent statistics reported by Nursing@Georgetown. That translates to approximately 7 million senior Americans living with depression – 60% of whom are not getting treatment for the condition.
Left untreated, depression is incredibly dangerous for senior loved ones. It’s the leading risk factor for suicide, which has been steadily rising in the United States.
What exactly can you do in order to help ensure senior citizen mental health and maintain the wellbeing of the older adults you love?
- Watch out for warning signs. Look out for feelings of guilt, hopelessness, helplessness, pessimism, irritability, or worthlessness, loss of interest in rewarding activities, modifications to sleeping or eating habits, exhaustion, or struggles to concentrate and remember details, and particularly if there are any thoughts of suicide expressed.
- Check with the senior’s doctor as soon as possible. Explain the signs you’re observing and arrange an appointment for a mental health and physical assessment. 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 adverse reactions, and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.
- Most significantly, never ignore any suicidal thoughts or tendencies. A senior loved one who mentions suicide as a way to relieve the pain he or she is enduring should always be taken seriously, and prompt medical assistance should be sought. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers further, confidential advice: 800-273-8255.
Absolute Companion Care’s professional home care services can help brighten day-to-day 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 so much more, according to each person’s specific interests.
Other ways we are able to help include:
- Preparing delicious, healthy meals
- Maintaining a clean and organized home environment
- Providing medication reminders
- Motivating older adults to stay physically active through physician-approved exercise plans
- And much more
Reach out to us any time at 410-357-9640 to let us know about the challenges your loved one is facing, and ask for a free in-home assessment to learn more about our Hereford home care team and the surrounding communities we serve.