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7 Facts About Mental Health and Aging

By Jessica Deng

Aging is often a time of transition. Mental health and physical health have a strong correlation. As we all get older, the decline in our physical health may affect our mental health, where we may face challenges. Physical health concerns, major life transitions, and other common experiences during aging can take a toll on your emotional well-being.The mental health needs of older adults are unique, so it’s especially important to take care of your mental health as you get older. To assist you or your loved one in living the best life in the golden years, we want to share with you, ways that aging can affect your mental and emotional health.

  • Mental health problems are not a normal part of aging
    • While older adults may experience many losses, deep sadness that lingers may signal clinical depression. Similarly, an anxiety disorder is different from normal worries.
  • Mental health is as important as physical health
    • Good mental health contributes greatly to an overall feeling of well-being. Untreated mental health disorders in older adults can lead to diminished functioning, substance abuse, and poor quality of life.
  • Side effects of physical health conditions
    • Chronic pain and other physical health problems can take an emotional toll as they can make it more difficult to engage in your daily activities. However, certain conditions can also have an impact on your health.
    • Medication side effects may also play a role in aging and mental health as well. Certain medications used to manage a health condition may cause a change in your mood, energy level, or overall emotional state.
  • Older adults have specific mental health care needs
    • Changing bodies and chemistry, changes in family and friendships, and changes in living situations can call impact mental health. Sometimes helping solve basic problems, like transportation, can lower stress, improve social connections, and improve outlook and mood.
  • Mental health problems are a risk to older adults, regardless of history
    • While some adults go through life managing a chronic mental illness, mental health problems also can appear later in life. Sometimes mental health deteriorates in response to a stroke, Parkinson’s, cancer, arthritis, or diabetes, and even some medications.
    • Older adults without a history of substance abuse may abuse medications, alcohol, or drugs.
  • Feelings of hopelessness and isolation
    • One of the connections between mental health and aging is physical and social isolation. Loneliness and isolation are very common among seniors, and these problems can have consequences.
    • As you get older, you may find fewer opportunities to connect with your loved ones and the broader community. Social isolation is a major contributor to depression, especially among aging adults. We need regular social interactions to thrive, but some seniors miss out on those experiences.
  • Loss of Loved Ones
    • Bereavement affects people of all ages. The loss of a spouse, sibling, friend, or any other loved one can be incredibly painful. Feelings of depression and hopelessness after a loss are a normal part of the grieving process, so bereavement is not considered a mental health disorder.

There is a clear connection between mental health and aging.  Many people experience their happiest and most meaningful years later in life because they have a social circle and loved ones in place to help them stay well. If you’re concerned about your or a loved one’s mental health, senior counseling is a great opportunity to address any issues and improve your overall well-being.

How Can LifeWorx Help You?

When someone requires care that is not medical in nature, it’s called a private home health aide or a private caregiver. LifeWorx can provide all your private home care needs. People that can benefit from private home care include those with mild dementia, depression, or loss of faculty. Sometimes they may need a companion to converse with or just help around the home. We keep the process simple and provide you with solutions to meet your needs and help bring you and your family a peace of mind.

Explore LifeWorx’ in-home elder care services.