Author: Holly Klamer
Old age is a sensitive period during which elderly people go through multiple behavioral, mental, and cognitive challenges. Depression, in particular, is common during this time.
Many of them, when left unattended, feel rejected, overwhelmed, and a sense of purposelessness. Some even develop conditions like bipolar and manic-depressive episodes. In some conditions, you may have no choice but to send them to one of the memory care facilities for seniors.
Many of them even become violent due to worsening mental health. It’s the responsibility of family members to take care of the elderly during this critical time. But, it’s important to know about a few things that are often missed while caring for their mental health.
Always Be A Good Listener and Be Kind
During old age, people go through a lot of behavioral changes; which makes them subject to being misunderstood. This often forces them to live in solitude and sell all their belongings to support themselves.
Many elderly are afraid to express their feelings for the fear of being misunderstood and humiliated. As someone who’s taking care of the elderly, you must develop listening skills. Listen to what your elderly have to say.
You might be surprised how lending an ear might do wonders for their peace of mind, self-esteem, and mental health.
Try to Encourage Them Always
Mental health conditions can be extremely isolating. It’s the time when your self-esteem takes a dip. As a result, the elderly often have a hard time taking any initiative.
They may feel like their life has no worth. During such a fragile time, it’s the responsibility of every caregiver (be at family or senior living communities) to encourage them to take initiatives.
It could be in the form of taking on a new creative project or being part of community service. Even a simple word of encouragement can be like medicine for people battling mental health conditions like depression and mania. Encourage them for some other activities like taking music lessons it will helps to boost their mental health
Go for Walks or Do Exercise With ThemConditions like Alzheimer’s and bipolar disease can pose a serious threat to a person’s physical safety and well-being. Difficulty balancing and feeling suicidal can often drive a person to abuse drugs and alcohol while having a mental health problem.
Other than that, cognitive health decline can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks. As a result, the elderly are prone to slipping and falling.
Therefore, you must have all the security checks in homes such as slip-resistant flooring, tubs, and no sharp edges. You must also administer medication at the right time.
Be on the look for any signs that the person is showing symptoms of difficulty managing their everyday life.
There’s nothing quite like that rush of serotonin for someone who has gone through an episode of depression or mania. Something as simple as going out for a walk can be great for your senior’s mental health.
It gets all those happiness juices going which are great for uplifting your mood. Even going for a walk instills a sense of discipline which gives a feeling of strength and power about having done something healthy and positive.
Practice and Preach the Safety Measures
Take The benefit of Public Welfare
Providing for your senior’s mental health care and treatment can be a costly affair. Thankfully, you can take advantage of one of the healthcare services run by the government. Some of the services offer free checkups or low-cost checkups.
Anything that can help you financially while taking care of your elderly is a good thing as it puts less strain on your financial resources.
Visit the Doctor for Regular Check-ups
Regular check-ups are essential whether you are taking them to a physician or a mental health expert. Be sure to keep a diary with all of the follow-up appointments. Tell your elderly about all the medication they are taking. Education is important.
It’s easy to miss appointments when you’re leading a busy lifestyle. It’s better if you set reminders on your phone for the days of doctor’s appointments. Listen to the advice your doctor gives. Be sure to introduce any changes in the diet as prescribed by the doctor.
Keep Your Resources Alive
Resources are important. As a caregiver in the family, you must remember that. Some children will quit their job so they could devote time looking after their seniors. But, that’s potentially a bad move as you risk losing your insurance benefits. Think about that. On top of that, you may have trouble finding another job soon enough.
Talk to your employer and see if you can get flexible working hours instead. Otherwise, you might soon run out of finances to cover the healthcare cost.
A caregiver must also look after his/her own mental and physical health. That means getting nutritious meals, going for walks, doing yoga, medication, and visiting peaceful places. Always give yourself plenty of time to relax and unwind. Only when you are recharged can you handle your responsibilities. An irritable and exhausted caregiver can never do his duties efficiently.
Mental health and old age share a close relationship. Almost everyone is likely to battle with some kind of mental health issue during this time.
As someone concerned about your senior’s health, be sure that you try to make them feel appreciated and less alone. Make them feel truly valued and that you’re there for them no matter what.