At Crouched Friars, we know it’s important that everyone feels happy and healthy. But good health is more than just being physically fit; being mentally well is a big part of it too.
Sometimes referred to as ‘mental wellbeing’, or ‘emotional health’, mental health is just as much a concern for elderly members of the community, as it is for the younger generation. But many are unaware of how to recognise the signs of poor mental wellbeing, and the risks it carries for their overall health.
So what can affect a person’s mental health? And what can be done to improve it?
Mental Health and the Elderly
A person’s mental wellbeing can affect how they feel and think about things, determining how they cope with the ups and downs that are faced on a daily basis.
Problems with mental health are much more common than most people think as there are very few visual signs. But in reality, around 1 in 4 people will experience mental health problems in their lifetime with Mental Health Foundation reporting that an estimated 85% of older people with depression receive no help at all from the NHS.
Mental wellbeing doesn’t have a defined cause every time, but there are lots of reasons as to why emotional wellbeing can change. For the elderly, retirement can cause a huge change to their everyday life and can sometimes have a negative knock-on effect.
Loneliness is also a leading cause, with isolation and mental wellbeing frequently linked. 1.9 million older people in the UK report feeling ignored or invisible and this has a huge impact on the older generation. Other significant events such as money worries, being a carer or poor health can have an impact on mental health.
Combating Bad Mental Health
If you think you or your loved one is feeling mentally unwell, look out for signs such as the loss of confidence, anxiousness, not enjoying things that are usually fun and avoiding others, including close friends and family.
There are steps that you can take to improve the mental wellbeing of yourself or your family. Eating good, healthy food and avoiding alcohol can be the first step to detoxing the system and improving emotional health.
Physical activity can be key to boosting emotional health, as it will release endorphins, the chemical well known for making you feel good. Just 15 minutes a day can reduce the risk of depression by 26% so it’s a worthy lifestyle change to make.
Our residents find one of the best ways to improve their mood is by socialising with their friends and family, as well as our care team. This is because it gives them the opportunity to build positive relationships, feel supported and have fun.
An additional benefit of socialising is that it can also combat feelings of loneliness and isolation. So, if you can, make time to meet up with others, or explore community events nearby for regular opportunities to get out of the house and meet new people.
Monitoring the mental health of an elderly friend or family member can be hard. But ensuring that you speak to them regularly will mean you can spot any warning signs and offer your help before they begin to feel any worse.
Here at Crouched Friars, mental health is a priority. Our consistent care ensures we know each and every individual at our home and that we understand their needs, ensuring they are able to communicate easily with us.
Activities and events also take place on a daily basis, keeping our resident’s minds and bodies active and stimulated. Our care teams and chefs ensure that all of our home-cooked meals are tasty and packed full of nutrients. Mealtimes should be a positive experience.
If you or your family are experiencing mental health symptoms, please speak to your doctor and explain how you feel. Your GP will be able to help address your issues and identify further support for your loved one’s wellbeing.
You can also speak to the Samaritans on their 24-hour helpline.