Aging is a fact of life. The cycle of life starts with us being born as a child then stages of life come, and finally some of us reach the age where we need someone to look after us. For a person who had lived a life independently always, it’s a very scary thought of being dependent on others in any way.
It’s also true that aging has its own fears and is a tough path. In many older adults, the fear of loneliness, kids growing up living separately, moving away from families, living alone, and then now being dependent on others, or having a lack of purpose yet meaning in life, at times losing a life partner can often trigger feelings of loss, pain and deep fear.
Change no doubt is scary for many aging adults. When they feel that that the photo of life is changing and they cannot do anything about it. They don’t want to flow with life flow and fear of the unknown overpowers many. If these feelings tend to grow often the desire to live fades away.
In many older adults, these fears and feelings of pain and loss become a reality, a permanent part of their daily lives sadly. Dependence on others or a lack of purpose are these deadly feelings, that increase the growing fear in a person which later leads to intense pain, grief, and feeling of loss. “Handling grief” if it increases, is not easy to be dealt with.
To believe that older adults don’t have the tendency for depression, anxiety, or even suicidal thoughts, loss of self-esteem, and losing faith in life itself is further far from the original truth.
If in any case, you are caring for an older adult at home. You must have known how difficult at times it is for them. You can help them face psychological issues related to age by giving out positivity and confidence encouragement, your time, and appropriate care.
Before jumping to any conclusions try to find out what’s stressing them and how you can be of help. If you are a family member of an older adult, you must actively address these stressors by spending time with the person, encouraging the one to socialize, and engaging the one to indulge in their loved hobbies.
If they need you can help them around the house, doing small deeds for them too, for instance:
- Taking them to their doctors visit.
- Assisting them at their bank visits.
- Doing groceries for them.
- Providing them personal grooming services.
- Helping them with their laundry.
- Making up their beds and organizing their things for them can be another gesture of extending help to them, but only if they ask you too, as most people are particular about their things and they don’t want others to organize their things for them. It’s kind of sentimental for them.
All of these above points can help older adults, to restore their confidence, can lighten/brighten their mood, and could change their outlook towards life. The presence of certain physical ailments can also affect the mental health of older individuals.
Aging its self is quite stressful. The feeling of getting old is scary for most of us. Physical diseases like a heart attack or loss of mobility are directly related to depression in older adults. Similarly, chronic high blood pressure, chronic pain, or strokes are trigger factors for dementia in aging adults.
If you are taking care of an older adult, do what it takes to protect them. Always ensure that all medical issues, existing or previous ones, faced by the person are diagnosed and treated properly.
Never take risks with their health issues, take timely decisions to ensure proper medication, diet, exercise, and comfortable sleeping patterns for them. Older adults at times are reluctant to talk about their mental health problems for perhaps various reasons. It is up to you to make them comfortable and speak out about their worries and quarries. Encourage them to talk about their symptoms if they have any such as; being forgetful more often or having trouble sleeping and the list can go on and on.
When dealing with an older adult don’t dismiss any signs which appear as normal due to aging. Be around, be more caring and help in any way you can.
Be with them if in case they need any treatment or professional help. Work closely with the expert to understand the symptoms and whole situation. Be vigilant at all times with their prescriptions and medications.
Make sure that you stay calm and supportive at all times and never let any older adult you are giving the care feel, that you are bossing around or that they are not in charge of their own lives anymore. Seeing the rising life expectancy overall in the World and the increasing population of “65+ year’s Older individual’s, “The World needs to plan for age-related mental illnesses and ensure that investments are being made in the right directions to facilitate the Older individual’s through, optimal infrastructure, resources, and personal support. Making life comfortable and perfect for them as much as possible should be the aim.
It’s a reality that the Aging process brings its own mental health risks, as well as physical health risks but these risks can be managed: “With a little effort, lot of caring love and adopting right approach towards Older individuals”. Therefore extend that offer to help and make life better for those who require your attention, devotion, love, care, and above all your time.