30 May 2017

What Are The Mental Health Problems That Affect Seniors?

What Are The Mental Health Problems That Affect Seniors?

A big part of running a successful care home is ensuring that your residents are as well cared for as possible, both physically and emotionally. When it comes to physical care, the chances are that, like most specialist facilities, you know how to provide the very best levels of care, as do your team members, but what about mental health?

The fact is that study after study has shown that when care homes put the same level of importance on mental health care as they do physical care, it results in happier and more content residents, helping to improve their quality of life.

How problematic is mental health in seniors?

Statistics show that on average 22% of older adults over the age of 65 have experienced some form of a mental health problem. The fact is that mental health problems affect seniors just as much as they affect young adults and adults, which is why understanding the best methods of caring for a senior suffering from mental health problems is so important.

Experts have estimated that on average around 40% of dementia sufferers also suffer from depression. Doctors believe that dementia sufferers are more prone to mental health problems during the beginning and middle stages of the disease, making life even more difficult and confusing for them. However, often the issue is that diagnosing depression in dementia sufferers can be difficult because of how dementia impacts a person’s cognitive function, which makes it difficult for them to express their emotions, which in turn makes diagnosing depression more difficult.

Obviously, depression and other mental health conditions like anxiety, for instance, also affect ‘well’ seniors - people not suffering from dementia or any other health condition or complaint. Diagnosing depression in seniors without dementia tends to be much simpler and more straightforward because their cognitive function isn’t impaired.

Best methods of dealing with mental health problems

Effective training: If your care home is going to be able to provide high-quality care for seniors suffering from mental health problems, as well as physical health complaints, it’s vital that your staff undergo the very best training, to help them to provide the best levels of care.

Offering specialist therapy: While there are many different medications available to help treat mental health problems, often the best treatment is a singular form of therapy or various different forms of therapy, it’s just a case of determining which method of therapy is best for each individual resident. The most effective methods of therapy include cognitive behavioural therapy, exposure therapy, and sensory therapy.

Some of the best forms of therapy for helping to improve the wellness of your care home residents and to help keep symptoms of depression and anxiety at bay, are the simplest. These methods include pet therapy, which is a form of therapy that involves the use of animals - mainly dogs, to help soothe, calm, and reassure people who are suffering from depression, anxiety, or another mental health problem. Another popular treatment method that has been proven to be effective in care home environments is art therapy, which is where painting, drawing, and colouring are used as activities to help residents suffering from depression to express how they are feeling.

The fact is that although medication is available to treat mental health problems, often the use of specialist therapy tends to be a more effective treatment method.

A Guide to UK-based Free Mental Health Helplines by Cassiobury Court. 

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