Elder Care Observances: Mental Health Wellness Week

Posted: 11/6/2015 2:43 PM by Interim HealthCare
November 9 through 15 is Mental Health Wellness Week, the perfect opportunity for you to turn the focus of your elder care to effective and compassionate ways for you to support the mental and emotional health and wellness of your aging loved ones, and yourself. Mental health concerns are a common problem for elderly adults, with estimates setting the percentage of elderly adults who have coped with depression at more than 50 percent. As a caregiver, your elder care journey with your aging parents can put you at higher risk of experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression.

Acknowledging the risk for mental health concerns in with your loved ones and finding ways to reduce the risk and address the concerns is an important part of maintaining your effectiveness as a caregiver, and ensuring the highest quality of life for your aging loved ones and for yourself.
Use these tips to help you focus on mental and emotional health and wellbeing during Mental Health Awareness Week:

Be vigilant. The signs of mental illness can be subtle, so it is important that you and your parents' caregiver pay close attention to their behavior to detect the early signs of mental or emotional concerns. These can be as subtle as your seniors not wanting to go out when they have the opportunity, not changing their clothes as frequently as they should, or showing shifts in their personality.

Stay connected. Isolation and loneliness are extremely common among aging adults who may no longer be able to drive, spend more time at home, and do not have as many social opportunities as they did when they were younger. Make an effort to stay connected with them if you are not in the home with them every day by scheduling phone calls, having video chats, and exchanging emails. Consider hiring a professional caregiver to supplement the care and support you give.

Be honest. The stigma that was once associated with mental illness makes many seniors reluctant to discuss their concerns even when they know that they are experiencing symptoms that are not "normal". Take away this stigma by being honest about the issues of mental health, the frequency with which aging adults experience these issues, and how they can be handled effectively. Let your parents now that mental health concerns are not a sign of weakness or something to be embarrassed about. Tell them about issues that you have experienced, or that you are experiencing, and let them know what you do to help you handle it.

Talk to the doctor. Make an appointment with your parents' doctor to discuss common mental health issues and how you would be able to detect and handle them should they arise.
Get in touch with the elder care agency in your area to find out more about hiring a professional caregiver who can help you support better mental and emotional health in your aging loved ones throughout their aging years.

If you have an aging loved one in need of  home care contact Interim HealthCare today.