April 16th is National Stress Awareness Day. To honor this day we want to share the signs of mental health problems and the importance of recognizing them for both the caregiver and senior.
Have you noticed an older adult in your life sleeping more than usual, seems angry or irritable, or having suicidal thoughts? According to the National Council on Aging, 1 in 4 older adults (7 million) are living with a mental disorder. Untreated disorders can lead to poor overall health, higher health care costs, disability or impairment, compromised quality of life, and increased caregiver stress.
As a caregiver, it’s important to know the signs and risk factors. The most common warning signs of depression in seniors include: persistent sadness or “empty” mood, irritability, feeling of guilt or helplessness, loss in interests, decreased energy, moving/talking more slowly, restless, difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions, or sleeping, and changes in appetite or weight.
If you notice any of these signs you’ll want to contact your healthcare provider. They may deem it necessary for medication or psychotherapy. As a caregiver, there are things you can also do to help. Encouraging them to participate in healthy activities such as walking, gardening, TaiChi which can improve mood. In addition to reading, playing games, crafts, music, skill-building classes such as cooking or sewing, prayer groups, meditation, volunteering, and socialization.
If you have a loved one you think is exhibiting signs or you yourself are feeling stressed while caring for a senior please call our fully trained staff to find out how we can help.