According to the British Council for Counselling and Psychotherapy, 22% of men and 28% of women aged over 65, experience depression. Mental wellbeing for the older generation is a serious issue that doesn’t always get the attention it should.
For most, this stage of life should be a period of contentment, free of the pressures of work, with plenty of time to do what you want and enjoy. Often, the reality is different. Without a sense of mental wellbeing, many opportunities to lead a full and satisfying later life become closed off.
Isolation is one of the biggest risks. Lack of social interaction is highly detrimental to mental wellbeing. In a residential care setting this is something that can be easily monitored. We would always know if people were becoming withdrawn and we’d spot the tell-tale behavioural changes that go with increasing isolation or deteriorating mental health.
The need for social interaction is addressed through activities designed around residents’ interests. These offer different experiences and opportunities to interact with people both within and outside the care home community.
When people receive home care support, care workers have a vital role in watching out for signs of poor mental health and social isolation.
Whatever the care setting, care providers need to work closely with health services to promote healthy mental wellbeing and ensure the necessary support or therapy is provided. There is no stage in life when simply sitting and watching the world go by is the best thing. Giving people the support they need to continue living as full and active a life as possible is the least they deserve.
Naturally, mental wellbeing is closely interlinked with both physical and emotional wellbeing and we’ll look at these aspects in future articles.