According to latest reports from an organization, 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 years of age every day and by 2030, the generation that was born in between the years 1946 and 1964 will reach their 65th year. What will happen next? This is of ultimate concern to not only the Americans but also other countries like England and Australia.
There’s no denying the fact that advanced age or old age is strongly linked with cognitive, mental and physical health decline. As per a new study which took into account seniors who were living in a senior care facility independently, researchers from the California University analysed how several factors like loneliness, wisdom, quality of sleep and income have a good and a bad impact on the way older people function mentally and physically.
Cognitive functioning among elders – What is this linked to?
Specifically, cognitive functioning was related to wisdom, physical mobility and the feeling of being satiated with their lives. Their physical health was also strongly linked with their mental resilience, well-being and with a younger age. It was also seen to be directly linked to self-compassion, optimism, disturbances in sleep and loneliness.
Unlike home care Edmondson Park where a professional attends the elderly person at home, continuing care senior living communities are the best places where you can study the health of multiple seniors and also promote awareness. Majority concentrate on risk factors and diseases like a sedentary lifestyle, old age along with an unhealthy diet. Though these are definitely important but there are many other areas too where you need to focus in order to understand how a particular senior behaves.
There are psychological factors like resilience, optimism, self-esteem, self-compassion and wisdom which were found to have a positive and protective impact while loneliness and isolation turned out to be a risk factor. It is also true at the same time that a 85 year old can function in a much better way than a 65 year old simply due to the varied risk factors.
Aging people don’t get the required support from the younger members
Danielle Glorioso, the executive director of San Diego Center for Healthy Aging said that the aging generation fails to get the required support from their younger family members who often play the role of caregivers. The younger members of the family have their children and jobs to take care of and this is why most seniors choose between either staying at home or moving to a senior housing system which is way more socially engaging than staying lonely at home. This becomes a vital decision which is affected by several factors which include financial costs.
For majority of the continuing care senior living facilities, the costs soar high as the residents transition to better levels of assisted living. If you could delay the transition through accelerating longer independent living, this could be a vital goal of health care. The findings of the researchers focus on those areas which play a vital role in enriching the lives of the seniors.
Impediment to mental health – How to help seniors tackle PTSD and depression
As we take a look at the bigger picture, we see that mental health issues have become extremely common among the seniors. The World Health Organization claims that around 20% of the adults who were above the age of 60 suffered from some kind of mental health disorder and this data excludes all those who are undiagnosed. Besides the disorders which deteriorate the human brain physically like Alzheimer’s, there is an array of mental illnesses like PTSD and depression which are often overlooked among the seniors. Let’s take a look at the barriers to mental health treatments among the seniors.
Barrier #1: Mental health is undervalued and understudied
As long as research on mental health is concerned, it is indeed a big challenge. Unlike blood examinations, X-rays and the other ways of testing your physical health, there is no such surefire way of monitoring and diagnosing someone with some kind of mental health disorder. This is why mental health is never taken seriously and its treatment is also highly limited.
Barrier #2: The social stigma
Due to the lack of concrete research materials on mental health, there has always been a social stigma attached to having a mental health disorder. Such an attitude towards mental health enhances more discrimination thereby making it tougher for the seniors to get help of professionals. The elderly people always have a fear of being judged and this sparks embarrassment and hesitation among them. Sometimes, the family members and caregivers are also in a state of denial.
Barrier #3: Symptoms that are confused with normal aging
There are several seniors who suffer from different kinds of issues at a single time. Old age is one more factor to be considered. This is why the symptoms of mental health disorder is often confused with normal aging and hence the mental illness that the person suffers from, goes unnoticed.
Barrier #4: Thought that it’s too late
When people age, they believe that there’s no valid reason for taking steps that can improve their mental wellbeing. Due to the fact that they’re nearing their death, they adopt a lacklustre attitude towards their mental health. Not only is this feeling common among the patients but also among the caregivers and family members.
Barrier #5: Availability of services
With regards to mental health care, the treatments are so huge and so personal that there are many who don’t find the required services in their communities. For treating a person with dementia, you may seek dementia care from resources like http://dementiacaring.com.au. Moreover, there are many treatments which are not even covered by insurance companies not funded by the public government.
Barrier #6: Financial and physical obstacles
For many seniors, not getting a proper access to health care might be the reason behind not treating mental health. Seniors who don’t have enough funds or mobility issues have a tough time in receiving the care that they need. Physical obstacles like lack of mobility are one of the biggest issues behind not seeking treatment.
Improving senior mental health – Effective tips to follow
From cognitive decline to memory issues to a looming loneliness epidemic, the seniors are particularly vulnerable to different types of mental health disorders. Studies reveal that the mental health issues like depression and anxiety can also have an adverse impact on the overall wellness and general health of the person. However, the good news is that there are several resources and activities which are available to keep the older adults engaged in proper mental health. Here are few of the steps that you can take:
Step #1: Engage the senior in mind games & puzzles
Just as human body requires stimulation and physical activity to remain healthy, the brain too needs to be stimulated in order to retain its sharpness and delay the stage of cognitive decline. Any type of activity which keeps your mind engaged or involves in solving issues will play a positive role in improving the health of your brain. Few activities to perform are learning a foreign language, writing or reading, playing an instrument and playing games and puzzles.
Step #2: Establish a connection with your friends
Both distance and time can make it tough a person to stay attached with his closest relationships and this is truer as people age. For the seniors who are aging, it is vital to keep in touch with the close people in their lives as this is the best way to keep loneliness at bay. Not only can you stay away from loneliness but also steer clear from feelings of depression and isolation. So, if you have a family member who is gradually suffering from cognitive decline, teach them how to connect with old and new friends.
Step #3: Encourage physical activities
From attending yoga classes to going out for regular walks, physical activity along with exercise can be good for mental health as well as physical health. Such activities will diminish the risk of falling and will also boost confidence.
Step #4: Adopt a new hobby and spend quality time
So what if you’re retired? Does that mean you can’t bring about a change in your routine? In fact, mental health experts say that it is vital to maintain a proper routine even after your retirement. Retirement is also given the name of ‘golden years’ and this is perhaps the best time to tick off their bucket list and keep pursuing their lifetime goals. Take up new hobbies like French cooking, painting, sewing or gardening.
Step #5: Subscribe with an adult health program
One of the best resources for staying active for the seniors is by joining an adult day health program. Here the seniors stay together, make new friends, look forward to ways in which they can stay active, pick up new hobbies, learn nursing services and do various other activities. They also receive personal grooming services, medication management services apart from being taken out for movies and music, seasonal jobs and for parties and outings.