Mental health for seniors have always come with it a specific type of prejudice and stigma. The perception about mental concerns for seniors have been so misunderstood to the point that it has become stigmatized, demonized, mocked, minimized, stereotyped, feared, danced around, and rationalized in most schools, institutions, media outlets, public safety protocols, and even friends and family conversations.
The World Health Organization has estimated 15 percent of adults aged 60 and above suffer from a mental health concern. That doesn’t mean that people at that age with mental health concerns are showing signs of weakness or flaw of character or a lack of faith or a moral failing. However, it is important to consider how mental conditions impact human thinking, mood or feeling as well as their ability to relate more effectively with other people. Not only that the diagnosis as well as treatment of mental health conditions for aging population becomes really complicated but the logistics of addressing this concern has evolved to something really complex.
Understanding the need for counseling for aging population mental health should be a top priority, not only for the government or for the community but also the inner circle of the senior individual suffering a mental health concern. One of the fundamental step in understanding is knowing what causes mental health illness, the types of mental health concerns and learning some quick help guides in helping a senior who is mentally ill.
Cause of Mental Health Concern
There is not a single trigger or a single cause of a mental health concern. Moreover, it is not something that is resulted from a particular event. In fact, mental health concern is an evolved condition brought about by interlinking causes, one of these would be genetics or commonly, family history of mental health conditions. Another part of these causes would be the environment as well as the individual’s lifestyle choices.
For individuals exposed to prolong stress, physical, emotional or sexual trauma, being a victim or commission of crime, and other stressful and/or traumatic conditions and experiences in life are susceptible to mental health concerns at the later part of life. Some biochemical processes as well as nutrition and brain structure may sometimes contribute in large part to the susceptibility of acquiring or developing a mental health condition at the later part of life.
Most Common Mental Health Concerns in People Aging 60 and Above
Here are the most common mental health condition that you will encounter with sufferers who are aged 40 and above are the following:
Major depressive disorder
Borderline personality disorder
Obsessive Compulsive disorder
Post-traumatic Stress disorder
How to Help a Senior with Mental Health Concern
There are a few help recommendations that you can undertake in order to help a senior with mental health concern. Understanding what they are going through as well as finding the need for counselling would be the best approach.
- Organizing a medical file, whether it is digital or printed. The files should include the name, date of birth, medications, dosages, vitamins, doctors, contact numbers of doctors, etc. Also, make sure to create a back-up copy.
- Make sure to prepare doctor’s appointments by providing the doctor of your observation of the senior’s adherence to medications, vitamins, etc. Provide any observation of allergies, missed medications, side effects, and so forth.
- Always accompany the senior to doctor’s appointments. Bring with you a pad and pen to make sure you can easily write down the doctor’s observations, recommendations and advice.
- Help the senior remember their doctors as well as other alternative therapies or medications.
- Do some research and readings about the senior’s symptoms, medications, behavior and way of life. Obtain reputable information around recommendations and treatments.
- Help the senior plan for and commit to taking their medications as well as ensuring that they have medications at the given schedule. Take note and recognize changes in dosages or changes in formulation.
- Monitor the senior’s reports of somatic complaints as well as ER visits. Always bring the ER paperwork to the doctor during the doctor’s appointment.
- Encourage the senior to take part in many social interaction and community activities. This will help the senior to surround himself with a lot of social support instead of being isolated and feeling alone and helpless. Involving the senior to a great community and social interaction is crucial to the senior’s mental health.
- Encourage the senior to perform some mental and physical exercises that are within the senior’s abilities and physical condition.