7 Facts You Should Know About Senior Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. To acknowledge this milestone and the importance of mental health, Residences at Wellpoint has gathered seven facts that shed light on the subject.

Keep reading to learn more about older adults with mental health issues or concerns.

1. Aging does not cause a decline in mental health.

As we grow older, we should enjoy the journey of aging and the many joys that come with it. Often this requires the right personal and environmental support to achieve a life of happiness and inner contentment.

While age isn’t a primary factor, developing a mental illness is more likely when you’re older.

With age comes change. This can mean diminished strength in several aspects of the self: physical, intellectual and emotional. Environmental changes also affect seniors differently than the younger population: As we age, we’re more likely to lose loved ones and see friends less often.

Every senior experiences these stresses differently. Those who love and care for seniors must work to empathize and recognize emotional changes.

2. One in five seniors over 60 experiences stress on their mental health.

Among seniors, it’s thought that nearly one in five is affected by mental illness. But mental health problems are often underreported by family members, doctors, and even seniors themselves, making the number possibly higher. Further, it’s not uncommon for seniors to have two or three mental illnesses concurrently.

Like everyone, older adults experience mental health problems for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Chronic disorders
  • A decline in bodily function and activity
  • Loss or grief
  • Financial problems
  • Other physical illnesses or ailments
  • Medications interacting with one another

3. Dementia and depression are the most common threats to the mental health of seniors.

Among adults over 60, depression and dementia are the most prevalent mental and neurological disorders. Dementia affects about 5% of seniors, while depression affects 7% of seniors. Following is a brief overview:

  • Depression is a mood disorder that affects a person’s thinking, feelings, and behavior. Those living with depression tend to be detached from and disinterested in the things they normally enjoy.
  • Dementia is not a specific diagnosis. Rather, it’s a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interfere with doing everyday activities, according to the CDC. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s.

Depression can sometimes occur in conjunction with dementia, which can exacerbate the condition.

4. Mental health affects senior wellness.

Older adults should aim to take care of their mental health as much as their physical health because holistic wellness is interconnected. In fact, when mental health is neglected, physical health deteriorates, the body’s healing abilities are stunted, and quality of life becomes compromised.

5. Accessing mental health services can be difficult for seniors.

Mental health treatment is often hindered by misconceptions, including:

  • Expenses associated with treatment.
  • Getting around to appointments.
  • Medication anxiety and/or misconceptions about treatment.
  • Therapists don’t understand their issues, so they don’t find therapy helpful.

At a community like Residences at Wellpoint, Assisted Living and Memory Care services offer residents a support system that helps them remember their medications, take part in exercise routines and enjoy delicious, healthy meals. The holistic approach to living can seamlessly improve all aspects of a resident’s life.

6. Early detection helps.

When in need, everyone deserves access to quality mental healthcare – the sooner, the better. In the case of some mental illnesses, earlier diagnosis and treatment can improve outcomes.

Whether you’re taking stock of your own mental health or keeping an eye on an older loved one, there are common signs that should be heeded.

Mental illness in seniors can manifest in a variety of ways, including:

  • An extended period of loneliness and depression
  • Irritability, anger and sadness are signs of rapid mood changes
  • Having trouble sleeping and losing appetite
  • Social withdrawal
  • The inability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs), such as eating, bathing, or remembering to take medications
  • A feeling of disconnection, anxiety and/or negativity

7. It’s possible for older adults to recover from some mental illnesses.

Up to 80% of seniors who suffer from depression are able to recover with the help of psychotherapy and medication. Prevention through health promotion can be an effective alternative to medications or psychological treatments. Active, social and healthy aging should be promoted by senior living communities and embraced by residents. A healthy lifestyle includes:

  • Organized activities that fulfill and enrich residents’ lives
  • Mental health education for community residents and their families
  • Connections to family
  • A variety of frequently held social activities

Residences at Wellpoint addresses these mental health needs by offering a full continuum of care and countless opportunities for seniors to engage within the community. Seniors can stay in touch with themselves and fellow residents, leading to a more positive outlook on life and a renewed sense of well-being.

We offer numerous services and amenities, including life enrichment programming, exercise regimes and chances to engage creatively.

Contact us today to learn more.

Residences at Wellpoint Redefines What It Means To Age Well

Situated at Hampton Cove near Huntsville, Residences at Wellpoint provides Memory Care, Assisted Living and Independent Living options. No matter where you are on your senior living journey, you can enjoy everything we offer.