When Should Elder People Consult a Mental Health Professional?

Mental health is one of the biggest issues in the world right now. With 1 in every 5 adults suffering from at least one mental health condition every year, it is one of the most pressing issues that need to be addressed. Unfortunately, there is significant stigma attached to anything related to mental health disorders or conditions. It is a huge barrier that keeps people from addressing their mental health. Mental health awareness is the priority of the hour and we need to talk more and more about it because it has a big impact on our lives.

And while the world is becoming more and more aware of the importance of working on our mental health, there are many groups of people who still do not seek professional help or have the access to it when needed. One such group is older adults or people above the age of 60. Call it the stigma surrounding society, the challenges of understanding their mental health concerns or addressing it with an open mind, older adults mostly remain unaware of their mental health problems.

In this article, we will talk about why should elder people and older adults should consult a mental health professional as a part of elder care and start with their home care nursing.
  1. Incidence of mental health disorders in older adults: The world population of older adults is increasing rapidly. According to the World Health Organization, between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of older adults in the world is estimated to almost double, going from about 12% to 22%. About over 20% of adults are aged 60 and suffer from mental health issues and disorders. About 6.6% of all disability amongst older adults is attributed to neurological and mental disorders. The most common neurological and mental health disorders in older adults are dementia and depression. This reiterates the importance of elderly care and the rising importance of addressing mental health disorders for a healthy and peaceful life. Having conversations with elders and connecting with them helps understand their struggles, and people living away from their parents can avail home care nursing services to monitor their parents.
  1. Mental health is important at every age: Mental health and well-being are as important in old age as it is at any other age. Working on our mental health and taking care of it as a part of elder care is of utmost importance to live a life of good quality. Mental health issues and disorders are not age-specific. One can face mental health issues at any point in their life. Our mental health impacts every area of our lives at every point in our life. It is important to cultivate good habits and practices, seek help, and nurture your mental health.
  1. Old age comes with varied challenges: Older adults tend to face special physical and mental health challenges which need to be recognized and adhered to. As we age, our physical health deteriorates. This may result in restricted activity which can prove to be a huge psychological challenge. Other factors such as isolation resulting from children living away from home, loss of family members and friends, declining memory, lack of exercise, poor sleep, and dependency on others for the basic activities of life can be very challenging for our minds and lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. Identifying the underlying cause of depression and other mental health challenges in the elderly as a part of elder care can help in controlling the condition and make their life a whole lot easier.
  1. Deterioration of health: With the declining health that comes with old age, mental health issues can be a huge added stressor for older adults and reduce their quality of life to a great extent. Depressive symptoms are common in later life and increase the risk of both cognitive and functional decline. With home care nursing one can ensure that the depressive symptoms are managed with proper care, food, on-time medications and sleep-cycle to help elders manage their conditions better.
  1. Under-identification of mental health issues in older adults: Most mental health issues and disorders amongst older adults are under-identified by healthcare professionals. The stigma around mental health does not make it any easier for older adults to seek help. The societal disapproval of older adults can come from friends, family, coworkers, and society on a broader level. Elders need an emotional support system that doesn’t just help them address their problems but also gather the courage to break the stigmas surrounding the society. Home attendants for elderly can offer a variety of services to help older adults deal with their mental health issues with confidence.

Talking about mental health and encouraging older adults to seek help and consult mental health professionals can help them to a great extent.
  • Dealing with mental health issues and conditions can be an incredibly isolating experience. Seeking help will ensure that the elder adults no longer struggle alone. Through private duty nursing, it will help them find a supportive community that understands what they are going through and can offer helpful and appropriate advice and guidance.
  • Seeking help through mental health professionals will empower the elderly to reconnect to their loved ones. Home attendant for elderly will help them build better and healthier relationships even in this stage of their life through clear and honest communication.
  • Poor mental health can cause poor sleep, digestive problems, obesity, and other linked illnesses. Seeking help for their mental health early can help the elderly in minimizing the risk of developing other health conditions related to mental health.
  • Seeking professional help will provide the elderly with coping strategies and tools that they need. It will help them navigate challenging situations with a greater level of awareness. Home nursing services help manage their day-to-day chores, lifestyle requirements and doctor visits to cope with lifestyle problems.
  • Seeking help for mental health can reduce the chances of further complications. Many older adults also develop habits of substance abuse and substance addiction. The possibility of this can be reduced by seeking home care nursing that helps monitor their lifestyle, food, meditations etc and addressing your mental health.
  • Seeking professional help and home care nursing can significantly improve the quality of life for the elderly. It will help them learn how to strengthen relationships and make new friends. They’ll also learn how to cope with the challenges that arrive on a daily basis. This can help in creating a healthier and happier life.
  • Seeking professional help enables an individual to understand themselves and take care of themselves. It helps in breaking the chains of toxic thoughts, feelings, and behavior and can help significantly with emotional health.

Taking care of your mental health is a lifelong practice. If you or your loved one feels the need for mental health help, you can find help through individual or family therapy, support groups, community clinics, online services, or by asking a family member or friend to support you.

Elcare is an elderly care service provider that is dedicated to improving the physical and mental wellness of elders via various services including home nursing services and private duty nursing. For information about our Health & Wellness Advisory and other services, call us on 80459 14567.