What Seniors Need to Know About Mental Health

May 23, 2023 / Senior Living Community
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A senior woman meditates at home with a smile on her face.

If you're a senior struggling with your mental health, you're not alone. Roughly 1 in 5 adults over 60 struggle with a mental or neurological disorder. As we age, isolation, loneliness, and psychological distress can make managing our mental health challenging.

Learn more about the unique mental health risks that seniors face and what you can do to support your mental wellness.

How Aging Changes Our Mental Health

Over 20% of adults over the age of 60 struggle with a mental or neurological disorder, according to the World Health Organization. Because seniors become more likely to experience multiple conditions simultaneously as they age, it's crucial to know how mental health can impact aging adults.

The most common mental or neurological disorders among aging adults are:

  • Depression
  • Dementia
  • Anxiety
  • Substance use

Crucially, mental health problems are often under-identified by both seniors and their healthcare providers, and stigma may make people reluctant to seek help. Awareness surrounding the unique mental health challenges facing seniors is critical.

As we age, we face unique risk factors that can make seniors vulnerable to mental illness. In addition to life stressors common to people in any age group, unique stressors arise as we age. These can include:

  • Reduced mobility
  • Chronic pain
  • Frailty and other health problems
  • Bereavement
  • Reduced socio-economic status
  • Elder abuse

When these stressful situations result in isolation, loneliness, or psychological distress, they can give rise to mental health challenges.

Managing Your Mental Health as You Age

Because physical and mental health often go hand in hand, taking steps to care for your physical health can also help your mental well-being. Some things you can do include:

  • Ensure you get your recommended health screenings.
  • Managing chronic health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
  • Make sure you know the side effects of the medicines you take, as some can include effects on memory, sleep, and brain function.
  • Limit the use of alcohol
  • Quit smoking
  • Get enough sleep

Other ways to invest in your mental health include eating a healthy diet, socializing with friends and family, and staying physically active. Managing stress through activities like exercise, journaling, and meditation can also contribute to your mental health.

If you're looking for ways to stay physically and socially active as you age, life in an independent or assisted living community could be the right fit. Communities like Ponté Palmero offer residents the chance to enjoy facilities that support good physical and mental health in a community surrounded by luxurious amenities and supportive neighbors. To learn more, schedule a tour.

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