6 Mental Health Needs that Are Unique to Older Adults

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Specific Psychological Needs of Aging Adults in Portland, ME

Mental health is often talked about when people are younger, but seniors also have challenges with maintaining this aspect of their wellbeing. Older adults tend to have different challenges with their mental health as they age. Identifying their new needs helps seniors continue to receive the support they require for good mental health. 

1. Identifying Undiagnosed Mental Health Conditions

Many advances have occurred in the field of mental health over the years. Autism is one diagnosis seniors might not have received when they were younger, but it could affect their behavior more as they age. This is also true of conditions such as PTSD. Some seniors might have refused diagnoses back when there was a stigma surrounding mental health issues, but now that people are more understanding, your aging loved one might be more willing to get such issues diagnosed. 

An in-home caregiver can monitor your loved one for changes in behavior and mood that may indicate an unmet mental health need. One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide home care service. Turn to Home Care Assistance for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour live-in care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties.

2. Accepting a New Health Diagnosis

Seniors can also experience mental health conditions caused by an inability to accept a new physical health diagnosis. This is common with long-term degenerative conditions such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease. A senior who is living in denial or refuses to follow a treatment plan can benefit from mental health services that bring him or her to a place of acceptance. 

3. Overcoming Addiction to Alcohol or Prescription Medications

Addiction discussions are often aimed at younger adults, but seniors are also at risk for developing issues with alcohol and prescription pain medication. For seniors, the reasons behind addiction are often unique compared to younger adults. Instead of misusing drugs or alcohol to fit in with peers, seniors may begin to do so out of loneliness. They may also accidentally end up addicted to pain medications as certain health conditions progress. Senior-friendly drug and alcohol addiction treatment is available to help them address the underlying reasons for why it’s difficult to stay sober. 

4. Learning to Manage Grief & Loss

Young people might lose loved ones or friends infrequently, but seniors tend to lose many people they love in a short amount of time. Watching as spouses, best friends, and other members of their social circles pass away is devastating. Grief and feelings of loss can also occur if your loved one loses functional abilities or cannot continue to work or volunteer. Support groups and counseling can enhance how seniors manage loss over time. 

Home care can be a wonderful solution when your loved one needs companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just needs minor assistance with daily household tasks. Although it may be challenging to find reliable, highly rated in-home care, Portland, ME, families can turn to Home Care Assistance. Our respite and live-in caregivers are expertly trained to assist seniors with a wide array of important tasks, including cooking, bathing, light housekeeping, and exercise.

5. Addressing Anxiety Disorders

There are many things to worry about in the senior years. Your loved one might fear falling down and getting hurt or be terrified of receiving a specific health diagnosis. Anxiety may also not have an identifiable cause, but it can be addressed through natural strategies such as exercising, and some seniors require medication or therapy to address their symptoms.

6. Preventing Apathy & Depression

Situational depression occurs when seniors are unable to manage the changes that occur in their lives. Seniors may become apathetic if they feel like nothing they do works to boost their wellbeing. Your loved one is also at risk for developing depression after having a change in health. Surround your loved one with support during life changes so he or she can find positive ways to adjust. 

A home caregiver can be a wonderful source of support and encouragement for your loved one. For many seniors in Portland, Maine, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness. Call us at (207) 835-4849 today to talk to one of our compassionate Care Managers about our high-quality home care services.

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