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 are more at risk for depression, having been in control of most aspects of their lives. They have been employed, provided for and raised a family, and made decisions on their own. As they have aged, they have slowly lost control or possibly lost control overnight with an unforeseen illness or accident. As independent, self-sufficient individuals who have contributed to society it is very difficult for them to continually lose control of their way of life.
Potential signs and symptoms of mental health distress in the elderly are varied. They can be confused, have trouble concentrating, have memory loss, or be withdrawn. They may experience changes in weight, appetite, fatigue, and have a feeling of worthlessness. The symptoms differ in everyone. They may include disinterest in things they normally enjoy. There may even have thoughts of suicide.
It is important to attend to mental health just like you would physical health. It is just as important. No one is a whole person without healthy mental health. There is a stigma attached to those who have issues, but these issues should not be ignored. Everyone needs a healthy mind along with a healthy body.
At Gentry Park Senior Living Bloomington, IN 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.