Physical health needs, whether they involve management of a chronic condition or assistance with daily tasks or mobility, are often a top priority when caring for an older loved one. But mental health needs should be given equal attention, especially since undiagnosed or untreated issues of this nature can affect physical health and wellbeing as well. Here are some of the unique mental health needs of older adults and how you can meet them.
Stress ManagementIncreased irritability, difficulty sleeping, poor concentration, indigestion, and changes in eating habits are among the symptoms associated with stress in seniors. Harvard Health points out that these stress-related issues can have a significant impact on quality of life for older adults. Help your senior loved one manage stress more effectively with activities that include:
Keeping a journal
- Joining a support group
- Exploring art, music, or pet therapy
Companionship & SocializationSeniors need regular companionship to stay mentally engaged and emotionally connected. This is a goal that can often be achieved by planning fun and mentally stimulating activities you can do with your loved one, such as scrapbooking and playing board games. Seniors can also enjoy regular companionship by: Joining senior-specific groups Reaching out to grandchildren and other family members Considering in-home care for times when family members aren’t available Home care can be a wonderful solution when your aging loved one needs companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just needs minor assistance with daily household tasks. One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide at-home care. Palm Beach families can turn to Home Care Assistance for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour live-in care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties.
PurposeOlder adults need to feel like they have a purpose in life to minimize related issues with depression or accelerated cognitive decline. This may seem like an easy mental health need to meet, but seniors sometimes have a difficult time adjusting to retirement or having more time available during the day. Volunteering, learning new skills, and rekindling dormant hobbies are just some of the ways your loved one may be able to find purpose later in life.
Mental StimulationThe saying “use it or lose it” doesn’t refer to only physical capabilities for seniors. Older adults also need regular mental stimulation to keep their brains active and functioning well. A lack of sufficient mental stimulation can also affect mental clarity and focus and contribute to depression. Fortunately, there are many ways older adults can stay mentally stimulated, some of which include:
- • Being active online
- • Working puzzles or using brain-stimulating apps
- • Having meaningful conversations with family members, friends, and like-minded seniors