Awareness of mental health issues has increased a lot in recent years, but the problems in mental health among seniors is still something that doesn’t get talked about enough. Many older people are struggling with their mental health and often, these problems go undiagnosed for a number of reasons. This problem is only getting worse and unless it is tackled, it can lead to a whole host of other health issues for seniors. But what causes it in the first place? There are multiple factors that are contributing to a decline in mental health among seniors, and some reasons why it is not treated too. These are some of the major reasons why more seniors are developing mental health issues in later life.
Social isolation is a major factor in mental health problems among senior citizens. It is well documented that a lack of social interaction can drastically increase the chance of developing depression. Unfortunately, this is all too common in older people that often find themselves isolated due to mobility issues or lack of support from others. Learning how to tackle isolation and loneliness is important but many seniors are unable to do this with outside help. They may not be able to get out on their own to attend social events and local groups, and they are less likely to be technology-literate, so their options for communicating with the outside world are limited. It is important that you make an effort to stay in touch with elderly relatives and help them to socialize as much as possible.
Hearing loss is a surprising cause of mental health problems, but there is a strong link. When people struggle with their hearing, they find it harder to engage with social situations and so they are more likely to withdraw and isolate themselves. Hearing issues also lead to faster cognitive decline because the brain is not engaging in conversations and processing information as effectively. Unfortunately, untreated hearing loss is a significant problem among the older generation and this only exacerbates the mental health crisis. Many seniors feel embarrassed about their hearing loss or they simply don’t realize how bad the problem is because it is a gradual decline. Being vigilant about any changes to a relative’s hearing is important because the earlier it is detected and they are fitted with hearing aids, the less impact it will have on their mental health.
Although the stigma around mental health is improving, it is still a problem, especially among the older generation. Many people consider it a sign of weakness to admit that they are struggling with their mental health, so they don’t say anything. This only makes things worse as they feel more isolated and they are unable to work through the issues that are troubling them. Finding ways to tackle this stigma around mental health is crucial if senior citizens are to be able to manage their mental wellbeing effectively.
Unless these major problems are tackled, mental health problems in senior citizens will continue to get worse. You can start by looking at the people in your life and taking steps to help them.