“Aging is out of your control. How you handle it, though, is in your hands.”
– Diane von Fürstenberg, formerly Princess Diane of Fürstenberg, a Belgian-born American
Diane is widely known in the fashion world (a world that doesn’t always accept aging open-heartedly) but her words are correct; aging is out of our control. Nevertheless, we can address the emotions and the attitudes that come along with aging ourselves. Often times as we grow older, focus is shifted and directed solely on our physical aspects. What is more important is to care for an entire person — mental health and emotions included.
Mental health has an impact on the emotions, attitude, and even physical health of a person. “The presence of depressive disorders often adversely affects the course and complicates the treatment of other chronic diseases,” (Read The State of Mental Health and Aging in America1). In a previous blog, we discussed the impact of loneliness imposed by isolation on the care of seniors, including a personal story of how companionship from a home health aide had a positive effect in another’s life.
Loneliness is not the only mental health issue that seniors face. Contrasting popular belief, anxiety is prevalent among aging seniors. The issue isn’t in the forefront of discussion because the most common issues emphasized for seniors are related to physical health over mental health (Read Older Adults3). According to research, depression and anxiety often go hand-in-hand. “Almost half of older adults who are diagnosed with major depression also meet the criteria for anxiety,” (Read The State of Mental Health and Aging in America1).
There are a variety of reasons that could lead to a less than cheerful attitude in seniors towards the changes associated with aging. Living in chronic pain, mounting stress from depression and anxiety, or side-effects from medications could all impact mood and attitude (Read Sources of a Senior’s Bad Mood2).
Senior Home Care
There are several resources that provide tips to help caregivers assist the seniors in their lives in the resources listed below. Senior home care can play a huge role providing the necessary social support for aging seniors. According to a study conducted by the CDC, “Social support serves major support functions, including emotional support (e.g., sharing problems or venting emotions), informational support (e.g., advice and guidance), and instrumental support (e.g., providing rides or assisting with housekeeping).” This social support is linked to a reduced risk of mental health, physical illness and mortality (Read The State of Mental Health and Aging in America1).
It is important to make care choices that will consider all areas of life, including emotional health. Arise is committed to providing a service that honors emotional health and protects the dignity, individuality and independence of seniors. If you want to learn more about how we can serve you and your family, contact Arise for more information.
- “The State of Mental Health and Aging in America” <http://www.cdc.gov/aging/pdf/mental_health.pdf>
- “Sources of a Seniors Bad mood” <http://www.agingcare.com/Articles/seniors-bad-mood-154967.htm>
- “Older Adults” <http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/older-adults>
- “Mood Changers: 5 Ways to Coax a Smile from Grumpy Elders” <http://www.agingcare.com/Articles/get-grumpy-elder-to-smile-156228.htm>
- “Tips for Family” <http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/older-adults/tips-family>