Seniors go through a lot of changes that can impact their mental and emotional health. Some of these changes are minor and occur gradually, while others are significant and abrupt.
Below are some of the challenges older adults face that may compromise their psychological well-being.
Challenges That Impact Seniors’ Emotional and Mental Health
Isolation and Loneliness
Different factors can fuel feelings of loneliness and isolation among older adults. These include:
– the death of their spouse, relatives, or close friends
– losing their jobs
– retiring from careers that defined their identity and gave them a sense of purpose and self-worth
– the absence of people they can regularly talk to and confide in
– mobility and transportation challenges that also lead to decreased social activities
Prolonged loneliness can have detrimental effects on seniors’ health. It can weaken their immune system and put them at higher risk of chronic diseases.
Loss of independence
As their health continues to decline, older adults find themselves unable to do things on their own. They may need help cleaning the house, rely on others for transportation, or require assistance when using the toilet or taking a bath. Others may be suffering from chronic illnesses or recovering from injuries that keep them in bed for weeks or months.
All these may leave your elderly loved one feeling helpless and frustrated. They may fear losing their independence and having less control over their lives.
Occasional memory lapses are a normal part of aging. But factors like illnesses, lack of sleep, or depression may worsen older adults’ forgetfulness.
These memory issues can frustrate older adults and even pose threats to their health and safety. They may forget to take medications on time, or accidentally leave stoves and ovens on.
Vulnerability to stress and mental health concerns
Aside from the changes mentioned above, other challenges can increase stress among the elderly.
Their fear of slipping or getting injured can make them more anxious to go to the bathroom alone or leave the house without a companion.
Financial concerns may also weigh them down. They may be worried about not being able to pay for growing medical and living costs or long-term care.
Chronic stress can increase the risk of mental health issues among seniors. According to the World Health Organization, 7 percent of adults over 60 years are suffering from depression and 3.8 percent from anxiety disorders. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also revealed that men 85 years or older had the highest suicide rate of any age group.
Chronic illnesses also leave seniors more vulnerable to depression and other mental health concerns. These mental health issues can further impact their physical health and recovery. For instance, seniors suffering from loneliness and depression have higher mortality rates. Depression also affects the success and duration of cardiovascular treatment in older adults. It can even aggravate insomnia and memory loss.
Augmenting Psychosocial Support for the Elderly Through Home Health Care
The benefits home care workers provide go beyond physical assistance. They become additional sources of psychosocial support, helping seniors navigate challenges that come with aging.
Regular emotional support
Having someone to talk to may help older adults manage difficult emotions like loneliness, fear, and frustration. Moreover, having constant emotional support can help reduce their risk of developing mental and physical issues.
Companionship and socialization
The companionship home care workers provide can alleviate chronic loneliness among seniors. They can also help older adults maintain an active social life by:
– driving them to community activities or visits to family and friends
– accompanying them during walks
– helping them use video chat tools to keep in touch with relatives and friends
These activities help seniors stay connected, keeping feelings of isolation and loneliness at bay. Participating in social activities gives them something to look forward to and allows them to create new memories and connections.
Supporting healthy routines
Healthy eating and exercise keep seniors strong and improve their balance. These also keep their memory sharp, boost their mood and help them relax and manage stress.
In-home senior caregivers and home health aides can help older adults stay fit and stick to healthy routines. For example, they can prepare nutritious meals and ensure these meet seniors’ dietary requirements. They assist them during light exercises, accompany them during walks, and inspire them to resume their hobbies.
Physical support to maintain their independence and quality of life
Aging in place allows seniors to retain their sense of independence and control over decisions that affect their lives. Living in a familiar place, surrounded by things that bring them comfort, may also give them a sense of security amidst the changes they are going through.
Home care workers help seniors stay independent while reducing the risks and difficulties that come with aging in place. They help older adults keep their homes clean and safe by handling light housekeeping tasks and removing hazards like electrical cords and rugs. They help them maintain personal hygiene by assisting them with bathing and dressing.
Home health care agencies provide seniors and their loved ones with cost-effective home care options. This flexibility in terms of the type of care and cost can reduce seniors’ financial stress. Clients can decide how often to request these services and what tasks they need help with. Older adults who are recovering from injuries or illnesses can also save on hospitalization costs through in-home skilled nursing care.
Promoting Holistic Health for Seniors
Changes that come with aging can hurt your elderly loved one’s mental and emotional well-being.
This is an area where home care can help. Home care workers become constant sources of social support for seniors, helping them experience healthy aging and a better quality of life.