Mental health in the elderly
Maintaining the elderly’s mental health in today’s modern world is one the essential matters. The world is getting old. Advanced countries have been familiar with this phenomenon for years by controlling births and improving the health level of their society.
Aging is not a disease but a stage of the life cycle that has its developmental issues, and at the same time, it is associated with the accumulation of wisdom. It is an opportunity that a person can transfer his experiences to the next generations. Erik Erikson saw old age as a time of reproduction, not a time of despair.
The characteristic of the aging process is the gradual decline in the function of some body systems (cardiovascular, respiratory, urinary-genital, endocrine, immune, and other methods). But the belief that old age is always associated with profound physical and intellectual defects is a myth. Many elderly retain their cognitive and physical abilities to a significant extent.
In general, aging means the aging of cells. Each cell has a specific life cycle influenced by genetic and environmental factors. With age, structural changes occur in cells. It probably does not have a single cause, and during it, all areas of the body are affected to some extent. At the end of adulthood, the aging body becomes the focus of one’s concerns and replaces the preoccupation of middle age in career and relationships. The reason is the natural decrease in the function of changing physical appearance and the increase in the number of physical diseases. Despite these events, the human body is still a source of pleasure in old age. It can convey a sense of sufficiency, especially if a person pays enough attention to regular exercise, a healthy diet, adequate rest and preventive medical care. The average state in old age is physical, mental and social health, not illness and disability.
“He may be old but lively“
It doesn’t matter how old you are; it’s enough to take care of your health from this moment so that you can enjoy a healthier and more joyful life in the future. Aging does not mean retirement, becoming a parent or reaching a certain old age, but aging is a lifelong process. People who get the chance to reach old age have successfully passed through different stages of life. Successful aging involves several factors, most of which are under your control, namely your attitude toward aging, activities, health care, and interpersonal relationships.
Although your body will age, your mind will stay young as long as you wish. If you hope to have a long life full of freshness, good humour and strong social relations, then this mental plan will determine your future for a long time. Humour and the ability to cope with problems and changes will help you overcome any situation.
“How to grow old healthy“
Mental health in old age depends on how to deal with body changes during this period. It does not mean that seniors do not experience any diseases or problems, but timely control and treatment of symptoms and conditions will increase their quality of life. Psychological disorders refer to a group of mental states that cause disturbances in a person’s thinking, behaviour and feelings and reduce his adaptation to life changes and stresses. Mental illnesses can affect any person of any age and any social status.
The primary key to mental health in retirees is their physical health. Physical and mental health in them is a two-way relationship. People with physical problems and diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure, and arthritis are more prone to psychiatric disorders. Also, people suffering from depression and anxiety are more likely to suffer medical problems. Unsurprisingly, the elderly with anxiety and depression problems spend more time and money on medical care and visiting specialized clinics to treat physical diseases.
The common misconception among the general public is that a series of mental health disorders such as concentration disorder, irritability, depressed mood, decreased energy, and anxiety is due to old age. I should say that the healthy and dynamic aging process does not include a sudden change in people’s personalities and loss of intelligence or memory. In case of such symptoms, you should consult a psychiatrist.
The following factors can cause mental health disorders:
- Stress and depression
- Lack of proper nutrition
- Smoking and alcohol consumption
- Some drugs used for physical problems in the elderly
- Interference of medications prescribed by several doctors
- Lack of activity and movement
- Stress and discomfort caused by the death of loved ones and the resulting loneliness
- Physical diseases
Some valuable tips for mental health in the elderly
- Get enough rest
Adequate sleep and rest will help you to have a calm mind. Sleep 7-8 hours a day. In addition, sleeping during the day for 30 to 40 minutes will help you relax your nerves and increase your energy, as long as you don’t have insomnia.
- Start physical activity today
The sooner you start regular exercise, the more benefits you will reap. Exercising reduces chronic diseases such as arteriosclerosis, lowers blood pressure, and reduces blood lipids. A common and mild daily physical activity, such as walking for 30 minutes a day, reduces cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis incidence, improves respiratory function, improves blood flow, maintains an ideal weight, fitness, and ultimately a general sense of physical relaxation. And it is psychological. You can often stop the disease process with diet and exercise without additional surgical or medical interventions.
Old age does not mean incapacity; the years after retirement can be some of your life’s most pleasant and productive years.
- Exercise your mind and brain
Some distractions in old age are considered normal. Nervous stress, anxiety and busy life can also interfere with memory and concentration. Aging generally does not affect long-term memory, but short-term memory often suffers. Although you may not have the same brain cells as you did in your 20s, your wisdom and judgment have significantly increased compared to that time, and your ability to make sound decisions based on a lifetime of experience has increased.
Engage your mind by solving different crosswords and puzzles. Increase your general knowledge by reading many books. Read stories to your children and grandchildren and help them solve their homework. The way to keep the mind healthy is to study continuously.
Enroll in various art classes. It’s never too late to learn. Learn how to work with the computer and contact your friends and acquaintances by e-mail.
- Participate in various social activities.
Maintain your social relationships to the extent that there is a slight difference from previous years. For many people, retirement is a period of continued development of emotional and psychological intelligence. With isolation, people become more vulnerable to harm. Contact with young people is also essential. You can transmit cultural values to the younger generation and maintain a healthy sense of self-esteem and release from isolation and stress.
It may not be possible to participate in group activities in the past, but it predicts such an opportunity.
They participate in concerts, lectures, and cinema, guests of friends and acquaintances, and group trips with relatives and friends.
Try to meet your friends and acquaintances at least once a week. This action prevents you from becoming isolated.
- Tell your children and grandchildren about your memories.
Reminiscing, looking at old photo albums and talking to family members is a ways to connect you with the people around you and strengthen your memory.
- Participate in charity and volunteer work.
Voluntarily participating in programs to help the needy is very effective in creating mental and emotional peace. Remember that when you help others, you will surely benefit from their help directly or indirectly. Plus, spending time with others is a great way to eliminate isolation and depression.
- Check your physical health regularly by visiting a doctor.
- Be sure to stop smoking and alcohol.
- Have a proper diet.
Reducing the consumption of salt and solid fats, maintaining a healthy weight, and using all food groups, especially fresh fruits and vegetables and dairy products, play an influential role in keeping your health.
- Satisfactory sexual activity is regular in old age.
Sexual activity at any age is an intuitive and automatic part of human behaviour. In many men and women, sexual activity decreases with age. This process is usually gradual and begins in middle age. It seems that cultural and social factors play a role in the sexual changes of the elderly more than the psychological changes caused by aging. The most important factors affecting the level of sexual activity in old age are the survival and health of the spouse, the health of the individual and the group of sexual activity in the past. Stress, depression, anxiety, marital conflicts and physical diseases, the side effects of some blood pressure and heart medications, may interfere with people’s sexual function.
Satisfactory sexual activity is possible for seniors, but most abandon these activities as they age, based on a common misconception.
A healthy lifestyle and maintaining health, proper diet, regular exercise and correct health habits are the most effective ways to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and the need for medications that may impair sexual activity in the elderly.
- Be aware of the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
If you have recently felt a change in mood, decreased energy, decreased enjoyment of daily activities, feelings of guilt, feelings of worthlessness, desire to be alone, depression and anxiety, decreased sleep and appetite, weight loss, and numerous physical complaints, you must visit a psychiatrist.
Being in a reputable nursing home like Cavendish Manor Retirement Residence allows you to benefit from all the 11 tips mentioned. You can experience a pleasant retirement at Cavendish Manor Retirement Residence.