6 Unique Mental Health Needs of Seniors

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A study cited in the journal Research on Aging found older adults with mental illness are more likely to develop dementia than those without significant mental health issues. This is one of the more compelling reasons for caregivers to pay attention to their senior loved ones’ mental health needs. Six of these more unique needs are discussed below.

1. Social Interaction

Social interaction is a mental health need for seniors because a lack of this type of engagement is frequently associated with depression, cognitive decline, loneliness, and a loss of mental focus. This need is often met by making appropriate adjustments to account for physical limitations, a lack of regular companionship, and other things that can affect social engagement. Online interaction can often be equally beneficial for an older adult. 

Home care can be a wonderful solution when your loved one needs companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just needs minor assistance with daily household tasks. Although it may be challenging to find reliable, highly rated elderly home care, you can turn to Home Care Assistance. Our respite and live-in caregivers are expertly trained to assist seniors with a wide array of important tasks, including cooking, bathing, light housekeeping, and exercise.

2. Independence, Privacy, & Respect

These are a group of related needs often taken for granted earlier in life, but they become increasingly meaningful for seniors. These are mental health needs because a loss of any of these things can affect your parent’s state of mind, self-esteem, and overall outlook on life. Help your loved one satisfy these important mental health needs later in life by: 

  • Not automatically doing everything for him or her 
  • Allowing for some degree of privacy when assisting with more personal tasks 
  • Giving your loved one a say in what he or she does on a regular basis and how he or she receives care

3. Stress/Anxiety Management

A UK study found older adults are generally happier than members of other generations. However, this doesn’t mean seniors can’t still be affected by worries about finances, daily quality of life, health issues, and other matters. Help your loved one keep stress and anxiety to a minimum by finding ways to address pressing concerns whenever possible and encouraging activities that promote stress relief, such as yoga, deep breathing, meditation, and enjoyable hobbies. 

An in-home caregiver can monitor your loved one for changes in behavior and mood that may indicate an unmet mental health need. One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide home care. Clearwater 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.

4. Mental Stimulation

An aging brain needs regular stimulation to reduce susceptibility to behavioral shifts, cognitive decline, and various mental health issues. Fortunately, many of the ways to achieve this goal also involve social engagement, which also helps seniors maintain mental stability and focus while aging. Possibilities with mentally beneficial stimulation include: 

  • Playing games with family members 
  • Reading and other ways to learn new things 
  • Doing physical activities that boost circulation to the brain and allow multiple parts of the brain to work together

5. Purpose

Everyone needs to feel needed. This is especially essential for seniors because a perceived lack of purpose can affect mental health. Help your loved one address this need by encouraging volunteering, storytelling with younger grandchildren, participating in senior-specific groups, and doing other purposeful activities. 

6. Suicide Prevention

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center reports older adults, on average, have higher suicide rates than other age groups. Part of the reason for this may be that mental health issues often go untreated in seniors. Be proactive about preventing self-harm by insisting your loved one seek help if you’re noticing suicide warning signs, such as unexplained changes in behavior, purposeful isolation from friends and family members, or sudden lack of interest in favorite activities. 

A home caregiver can be a wonderful source of support and encouragement for your loved one. For many seniors in Clearwater, FL, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness. If you need professional care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (727) 330-7862.

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