Research carried out by the Co-op revealed that for people of all ages,
January is the month when they are most likely to experience loneliness. And
it’s easy to see why: cold weather, short days and fewer opportunities to get
out and meet people. ‘Blue Monday’ is the notorious 3rd Monday in January that
is thought to be the most depressing of the year.
Now imagine how that feels for an older person
living on their own. They may have been one of the more fortunate ones that had
company and attention over Christmas. Then, once the New Year is in, everyone’s
back to their normal routine and may be preoccupied with how to pay for the
festivities just gone.
It’s easy to assume that we’ve done our bit by
popping in to see an elderly relative or neighbour over the holiday period. And
these visits are valued. It’s just that it’s hard if this is followed by weeks
of seeing nobody.
Loneliness has a major impact on wellbeing, so
how can wellbeing be improved in January?
In our care homes we ensure that people are
kept occupied all year round with activities and are surrounded by people in a
sociable environment. The question is, how this approach can be applied to
people who receive care at home. It’s certainly much harder when it relies on
busy people being able to find a few hours here and there in a busy life.
The reality is that people in residential care
are less likely to experience loneliness and can enjoy better mental wellbeing
as a result. There are activities such as puzzles, games, singing and visits
arranged. Care homes can also look after other aspects that contribute to
wellbeing such as eating a nutritious diet and taking regular exercise.
For many, a care home offers a more sociable
environment compared to living at home, which can promote better health and
wellbeing – in January and throughout the year.
us at 01305
206 140 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about our services and care
World Mental Health Day on October 10th is designed to promote greater awareness of issues around mental health and to help remove the stigma that can surround it.
Mental health problems are more common than many people imagine, particularly in later life. The Mental Health Foundation estimates that 22% of men and 28% of women over 65 suffer from depression. So, what are the most important factors in maintaining good mental health in later life?
Good personal relationships are well known to
promote better mental health. All normal human interactions affect the levels
of chemicals such as serotonin and oxytocin.
Serotonin is important for general mental
wellbeing as it helps the brain to function normally. Oxytocin is sometimes
called the ‘love hormone’ as it affects our ability to form personal
relationships. Human interactions help to boost the levels of these healthy
chemicals, which is partly why isolation and loneliness can be so harmful to
in Meaningful Activities
Keeping active, doing something purposeful and
interacting with other people have also been proven to help maintain good
mental health. This won’t surprise anybody; but it can be a challenge to find
the right types of activities that are accessible in later life. You have to
wonder how much health spending could be saved by investing in more community
activities for older people.
health and mental health are closely linked. A good diet helps to boost the
levels of healthy chemicals in the body and also provides the energy to take
part in activities. Regular exercise is also important, whether that’s walking,
gardening or a few gentle stretches with friends during the day.
providers have a vital role to play in promoting better mental health in older
people. We need to work closely with health services and ensure we support
people in our care with the right nutrition and activities. We’re also aware
that we may be the first to notice the signs of mental health problems – so we
need to make sure our people are trained in what to look for and what to do.
At Altogether Care, resident’s health and wellbeing are at the focus of what we do. If you would like to find out more about either our care homes, care at home or our live-in care services please get in touch.
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.