Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel and act as we cope with life. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Multiple social, psychological, and biological factors determine the level of mental health of a person at any point of time. As well as the typical life stressors common to all people, many older adults lose their ability to live independently because of limited mobility, chronic pain, frailty or other mental or physical problems, and require some form of long-term care. In addition, older people are more likely to experience events such as bereavement, a drop in socioeconomic status with retirement, or a disability. All of these factors can result in isolation, loss of independence, loneliness and psychological distress in older people.
Mental health has an impact on physical health and vice versa. For example, older adults with physical health conditions such as heart disease have higher rates of depression than those who are medically well. Conversely, untreated depression in an older person with heart disease can negatively affect the outcome of the physical disease.
Mental health problems are under-identified by healthcare professionals and older people themselves, and the stigma surrounding mental illness makes people reluctant to seek help. In addition to mental health conditions, older people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and from many other symptoms of the aging brain, which the diagnosticians have grouped under the term “Mild Cognitive Impairment,” somewhere short of AD.
In an article published in Mental Health America regarding aging well, it states that some factors affecting the general mental health of adults and ageing adults include developmental challenges with emotional consequences such as retirement, loss of status, reduced physical and mental abilities, losses of family and friends, and the inevitability of death. However, the mental health of older adults can be improved through promoting active and healthy ageing. Promoting healthy mental health for older adults involves creating living conditions and environments that support wellbeing and allow people to lead healthy and integrated lifestyles.
I believe that every patient deserves to be treated with compassion and respect. When a patient needs mental health treatment, I provide a thorough evaluation to determine the patient’s needs, so I can offer the appropriate care in a safe and therapeutic environment. Give me a call if you or a loved one needs help dealing with mental health issues. All my sessions are private and confidential (716) 432-3656