There has never been a more significant focus on mental health than at the moment, as many of us have experienced a year of isolation and loneliness.
Supporting your elderly loved ones during this time whilst taking care of their mental health is important, especially as we head into colder winter months where it becomes tough for them to get out and about.
Defining mental health
Mental health can be defined as how you feel emotionally, including how you think and cope with everyday events. This means it’s just as important as physical health, so it’s essential to take good care of yourself.
With depression affecting 22% of men and 28% of women aged 65 and over, many individuals may think that feeling low or anxious about changes taking place in their life is a normal part of ageing. However, this is not the case, and if problems are ignored, they can impact on a person’s physical wellbeing.
Below are some tips on how to help your loved ones with their mental health
Learning how to cope
Learning new coping mechanisms can be the perfect way for your loved ones to check in with themselves and take back control of their feelings. Meditation and controlled breathing is a great way to help your loved one from feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
By breathing in deeply to the count of five, holding for five before exhaling to another count of five, they may find themselves feeling more peaceful and calmer than before.
Starting a new hobby
Hobbies are a great way to stay busy whilst also allowing a chance to destress and relax. For example, arts and crafts activities, such as painting or drawing, are simple to get started on and a great way for your loved one to explore their creative skills.
Other hobbies which are great to get stuck into are knitting, embroidery or cross-stitch and are all perfect for keeping the mind busy. Crosswords and word searches can be a great alternative for staying busy.
Staying physically active
Being fit, active and maintaining physical wellbeing can support good mental health just as much as emotional health. Supporting your loved one with going on regular walks around the local area or introducing them to chair exercises can ensure they benefit from a boost of dopamine, perfect for reducing feelings of depression, stress or anxiety.
Life can be hectic but finding the time to check in regularly can make the world of difference to a person. Give your loved one a ring every few days or drop by for some socially distanced tea and cake, making sure to check they’re getting on well. Interacting in social situations with other people can be vital for ensuring emotional wellbeing and preventing your loved one from feeling lonely.
Providing a list of helplines
Ensuring your loved one can easily access professional help and support should you be unavailable is very important. There’s a lot of support available for elderly individuals looking for mental health advice, or if they want to speak to someone confidentially, with many being available via telephone.
For mental health and general advice, call Age UK: 0800 678 1602
For loneliness and general advice, call Independent Age: 0800 319 6789
For mental health support, call the Samaritans: 116 123
For befriending and mental health advice, call The Silver Line: 0800 470 80 90
For grief and bereavement advice, call Cruse: 0808 808 1677
Here at Crouched Friars, we take the mental wellbeing of our residents seriously. Our carers spend time with every resident each day to discuss how they’re feeling and monitor their wellness. We also host a range of daily activities to keep them engaged, allowing residents to explore their creative side while connecting with others socially.
For more information please visit the website at https://www.crouchedfriars.co.uk/ or call