Mental Health Awareness Month was originally celebrated in 1949. That was 73 years ago! The goals of the sponsoring organization, originally the National Committee for Mental Hygiene (now Mental Health America), were to improve attitudes toward mental health/illness, improve services for mental health clients, and promote mental health.
Older adults tend to be more at risk for depression because oftentimes they are no longer able to do the same things they once were. They may be losing the ability to go out and function in society, due to loss of friends and family or because they are physically incapable. Sometimes they lose the ability to care for themselves. They can be physically unable to perform personal care such as bathing or dressing, even things we all take for granted like being able to prepare our favorite meal whenever we want. It is sometimes a big loss for someone.
Potential signs of mental health distress in seniors could be self-isolation, skipping meals, refusing personal hygiene, or even disinterest in activities they once enjoyed.
It is important to attend to mental health just like you would physical health. Mental unhealth can result in numerous physical complications when it goes untreated. People can suffer from a range of physical side effects from untreated depression, such as cardiac problems and gastrointestinal issues.
At The Boulevard Senior Living Wentzville, MO we understand depression is a treatable condition like diabetes or hypertension. Don’t settle for being depressed at any age! It is not a normal part of getting older. A primary care physician or mental health specialist can address chronic feelings of sadness.