According to the World Health Organization, more than 14% of people aged 60+ have one or another mental disorder.
What disorders are most common in older people, and how to take care of the mental well-being of older people, the Ministry of Health told.
Dementia is an irreversible gradual decline of mental functions (the ability to think logically, cope with everyday tasks, remember and recall the necessary information, feel adequate situations, emotions). According to News In Health, there are several types of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and more.
Anxiety disorder. Anxiety often appears for no reason, is manifested by restlessness, panic attacks, suspicion of non-existent diseases, phobias, in particular social phobia, or accumulation of junk.
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Depression. It is manifested by a bad mood, apathy, tearfulness, refusal to eat, sleep disturbance.
Psychotic symptoms. We are talking about various hallucinations, aggression and so-called agitation, when a person is constantly fussing, moving, saying something and not being calmed down.
Often, several disorders can be present simultaneously or mutually increase the risk of occurrence. And people themselves rarely suspect that something is wrong with them and do not seek help.
How to take care of the psychological health of older people
Taking antipsychotic drugs. It will be easier for the person himself and his environment, because aggression can often lead to unconscious actions and even the use of physical force by an older person. Be sure to consult your doctor about taking medications!
Reducing chronic pain. Chronic pain (in the joints, for example, or in the stomach) can be the impetus for one or another mental disorder. Therefore, it should be eliminated and reduced if possible.
Healthy sleep. Disturbed sleep greatly increases anxiety and increases the risk of stroke. Healthy sleep is the basis of mental well-being.
Daily motor activity. Even if a person is sedentary, it is necessary to train those parts of the body that move. Our movements are controlled by the brain, so motor activity is a certain training for it as well. If possible, go for walks, dance, because during this, a growth factor is released in the brain, which supports the life of neurons and prevents them from dying.
Prevention of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a gradual loss of bone strength and density.
Prolonged bed rest with injury often means social isolation, feelings of helplessness, and an increased risk of stroke. And these are prerequisites for mental disorders. Therefore, maintaining bone density is also a matter of taking care of mental health.
Vitamin D and calcium are not enough for this – certain prescription drugs are also needed. Therefore, it is worth contacting a doctor to prescribe a treatment regimen.
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Sensory stimulation. If necessary, a hearing aid, selection of glasses. Sufficient sight and hearing for communication and everyday life is another guarantee of a fulfilling life, self-confidence and the ability to communicate. Even for people in the late stages of dementia, sensory stimulation is important – the music of their youth, bright colors, sunlight.
Household organization. Household organization thought out by children, friends or social workers, for example, motion-activated lights, signed drawers, pill organizer, gas-controlled burners. This will reduce the risk of injuries and loss of mobility and, as a result, a better mood, no feeling of helplessness.
Communication with relatives and friends. Social isolation, lack of contacts is a powerful accelerator of mental decline and disorders. But talking on the phone once a day is not enough.
Adequate nutrition. A diet in which there is enough fiber, protein, fats, and complex carbohydrates is a guarantee of adequate functioning of the immune system and prevention of inflammatory processes.
Activity. It can be time with grandchildren, watching movies, reading, needlework, gardening, dancing, weaving camouflage nets, talking with neighbors, going for walks.
Read also: “How to take care of the mental health of the elderly?”
Iryna Bura, UP. Life