Have Elderly Relatives? 4 Things They Need to Stay in Good Mental Health
About 16 percent of Americans over the age of 65 are clinically depressed. Signs of clinical depression often include a shortage of energy, inability to sleep, incapacity to concentrate and a lack of appetite. If you think an elderly relative is suffering from poor mental health, then here are some things you may want to consider doing to help.
Get Them a Physical
Depression and other mental health issues often accompany other medical conditions. For example, it is estimated that about 25 percent of all people who suffer a stroke will end up depressed. Help your relative set up an appointment with their primary care doctor. Then, go with them. Make sure that their mental health is discussed as part of that appointment. Make sure that the doctor is aware of the seriousness of mental health issues in the elderly because statistics show that about one in five seniors has suicidal thoughts.
Invite Them to Family Activities
About 33 percent of all people who lose their spouse goes through a period of depression after the death. While this may be viewed as normal, about 16 percent remain clinically depressed for over a year following the death. Loneliness can be a major contributing factor in depression for these relatives. Make sure to invite them to family gatherings. Providing transportation to a family event may encourage them to get involved.
Encourage Healthy Eating
Many seniors lack the desire to prepare healthy meals when they are depressed. You can have a wonderful day with your elderly relative helping them prepare a healthy dish for everyone to enjoy. Keep the mood upbeat by doing silly things like licking the beaters and having a little food fight. Enjoy the meal with them, and freeze any leftovers allowing them to enjoy it on another day. Get out your best dishes for the scrumptious meal.
Help Them Develop New Relationships
Many seniors find that their depression becomes worse when they isolate themselves. Look in your community for volunteer opportunities that they might enjoy. Take them to local senior clubs so that they meet new friends who are their own age. See if they would be interested in working a part-time job, and help them find one. Get them involved in groups catering to their hobbies.
Mental health issues can be a huge problem in the elderly. Some can benefit from aged care where lively activities are always occurring, it is easy to make new friends, and there is a caring staff to make them feel pampered.