(image: Andrea Piacquadio: Pexels)
Mental health issues affect nearly one in four seniors in the UK. Loneliness is often touted as a silent killer among those over the age of 65. This is down to changes in lifestyles, living conditions, health and much more. Isolation is common amongst seniors, contributing to increased mental health issues in people reaching retirement years or older.
If you are concerned your parents might be struggling with their mental health, or you want to avoid them experiencing changes to their life and mental health, there are some things you can do to help them.
If your parents are struggling with a change in their abilities, experiencing changes to hearing and vision or are living with poorer health, getting them some help around the home can help them to live in the same way they are used to without harming their physical and mental health. Being able to live in a clean and tidy home, get support with bathing and dressing or leaving the house can boost their mental health and help them feel more confident getting around. Home care services can be instrumental in offering support to seniors who need a helping hand but still want to live independently.
One common thing amongst the older generations is that they frequently say they feel they are no longer an essential part of their family’s life and often feel left out, excluded or forgotten about. This is where mental health can decrease rapidly. You can avoid this happening by continuing to include your senior parents in family life, talking to them frequently, and making sure they know they are wanted, loved and can speak to and meet up with you and the rest of the family.
There are many different communities and support groups of people reaching senior age, and charities such as Age UK always hold events and have outreach programs in place to support the most vulnerable. Getting your parents out and into a community group, volunteer programme, or simply socialising with those in the local area can help give them a purpose, a reason to leave the house, and a chance to mingle with like-minded others.
If you are actively involved in your parent’s life, you will be better placed to notice any changes to their physical and mental health as they occur. They could be there doing their usual routines or activities or skipping meals, or eating more. Or they could be withdrawing from people. If you can recognise changes quickly, you can get your parents the right help, be it medical care, health conditions they are experiencing or mental health support.
Being proactive in your parents’ lives can help you stay on top of their activities, mental health, and how they support themselves so you can get them the proper health and support and ensure their mental health isn’t struggling. Many seniors are reluctant to talk about these types of issues, but by showing you care and are worried about them, you can help them to make the right changes so they can live their retirement years happily and enjoy the rest of their lives.
This article was written by a freelance writer.