Why elderly people are the most vulnerable to mental health issues
Monday 13th to Sunday 19th May 2019 is Mental Health Awareness Week, a campaign by the Mental Health Foundation to raise awareness of mental health issues and to promote better mental health. Here at Unique Senior Care, we believe this is the perfect opportunity to shine a light on mental health issues that can affect older people in particular, and what can be done to help.
Changing mental health as we age
Older people are more vulnerable to mental health problems, with depression affecting around 22% of men and 28% of women aged 65 years and over, according to the Mental Health Foundation. This is because older people are more exposed to factors that can lead to depression, such as being widowed, having a physical disability or illness, being retired and therefore feeling that they don’t have a purpose, or loneliness and isolation.
Loneliness is a particular worry. It is easy to see why people’s social circles narrow as they get older: retiring results in less daily interaction with colleagues/customers, mobility problems can lead to attending fewer social activities and events, and sadly, close friends, neighbours and even spouses pass away. However, our brains thrive on social interaction and having a strong network of family, friends and colleagues makes us feel supported and valued – and therefore, shrinking social groups can lead to a serious decline in overall health and wellbeing.
The benefits of Companionship Care
Loneliness in later years is a widespread problem. According to Age UK, 3.6 million older people in the UK live alone, of whom more than two million are over the age of 75. More than a million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member, and nearly half of people over the age of 65 say that television or pets are their main form of company.
This is where Companionship Care comes in. Here at Unique Senior Care, this is a key part of our service offering – many of our clients are simply looking for company and friendship. Companion carers are there to develop a friendship with whomever they are caring for. They are there to talk to, have lunch with, or play a board game with. The value of being able to have a chat with someone – be it about the weather, books, or reminiscing about the past – should never be underestimated.
Find out more
To find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week, and how you can get involved, click here.