• Home Mental Health Care: Vulnerabilities and Needs of Seniors

Mental Health Care: Vulnerabilities and Needs of Seniors

Mental Health Care: Vulnerabilities and Needs of Seniors

Now more than ever, we all need to realize the importance of mental health. It is about one’s overall wellbeing— it affects how one feels, thinks, acts, and copes with life. Moreover, mental health also determines how we handle our emotions, relate to others, and make choices in different stages of life.

With age, older adults tend to experience life stressors like deaths of loved ones, chronic illness, traumatic illness, etc intensely as they tend to get psychologically vulnerable at this point. On the other hand, they also experience loss in capacities and a decline in functional ability.

Older adults may experience reduced mobility, chronic pain, frailty, or other health problems, for which they require some form of long-term care. In addition, they are more likely to experience events such as bereavement, or a drop in socioeconomic status with retirement. All of these stressors can result in isolation, loneliness, or psychological distress in seniors, for which they may require long-term care.

Over time, mental health has an impact on physical health, vice versa and leaves long-lasting psychological consequences. For example, older adults with physical health conditions such as heart diseases have higher rates of depression and anxiety than those who are healthy. Also, untreated depression in an older person with heart disease can negatively affect its outcome.

Additionally, cases of abandonment and neglect can lead to a serious loss of dignity and respect.

It’s important to recognize and timely treat mental disorders in older adults. These disorders don’t just cause mental suffering—they can also make it harder for one to manage other health problems. This is especially true if those health problems are chronic.

What are the warning signs of mental disorders in the elderly?

  • Changes in mood or energy level
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Withdrawal from people and activities they enjoy
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Smoking, drinking or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling confused, forgetful, angry, upset, worried, or scared
  • Feeling numb or hopeless
  • Showing signs of aggression
  • Having thoughts and memories that they keep recollecting
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming themselves or other

What can you do to meet the needs of seniors?

It is important to prepare family members, health providers, and societies to meet the specific needs of older populations-

  • Training healthcare professionals for specific needs of older people
  • Preventing and managing age-associated chronic diseases including mental, neurological, and substance use disorders
  • Developing age-friendly services and settings

What is the need for change?

Over the years India’s social and cultural values have evolved which has changed the conventional setup of family structures, Whereas, earlier children are expected to take care of their parents in their old age but now this practice is declining. To remedy this, there is an urgent need for a specialized geriatric health care plan inclusive of mental healthcare for the elderly. It should consider the economic structure and the rapidly changing social structure that has affected the traditional caregiving mechanisms for the elderly. Thus, making the mental healthcare of adults all the more necessary. Here is where Samvedna Senior Care comes in. Consult a doctor for Psychiatric Consultation, Psychological Assessments & Evaluations to get a better understanding of the care your older family member needs. Choose among Samvedna Elder Care’s Intellectual Companionship and counseling services for Age-Related Disorders are now available online.

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Samvedna Senior Care, G-7 Oriental Villas, Sushant Lok III, Sector 57, Gurgaon

Samvedna Senior Care, C-13 Anand Niketan, New Delhi