There is a mental health crisis facing older adults and their families in America. One in four (about 20 to 22%) of adults over 65 experience a mental health condition including depression, anxiety and dementia. Also on the rise are the number of older adults with substance abuse problems. At the same time, people age 85 and older have the highest rate of suicide out of all age groups.
How can we do a better job of recognizing these problems in our loved one and finding solutions in the healthcare system? The Springpoint at Home’s Aging Life Care Advisor ™/Care Management team who is trained to recognize signs of mental health issues, can help identify appropriate programs and solutions.
Depression and anxiety are not normal in older adulthood and are highly treatable. When they go undetected and untreated, health outcomes for heart disease, diabetes and cancer are poorer. Sadly, what contributes to problems of mental health are ageism stereotypes like it is normal to be depressed as you get older. Our trained professionals know that this is not the norm and work with clients and their families to find help.
These conversations can be difficult for family members, which is where a neutral third party like our Aging Life Care Advisor ™/Care Management team can help set realistic expectations, uncover programs and plan for the future. When we set up counseling services, we ensure they matches your elder’s life experiences and are manageable for them. Counseling over the phone or home visits can ease the acceptance of help and cut down on missed appointments. We work to ensure that the supportive therapeutic program fits their person, especially in cases of dementia. Families who are feeling a strain on the family dynamics or are overwhelmed by caregiving issues should not hesitate to reach out on behalf of their loved one. Most caregivers and their loved one are not even aware that there is help available and that financial help is accessible.
Our elders are fearful of losing their independence. Staying in their home is the wish of 87% of people 65 years of age and older, according to an AARP report. Because of the link to physical health and mental health, it is important to have a plan in place in order for your elder to age in place successfully. Working with Springpoint at Home’s aides and Aging Life Care Advisor ™/Care Management team reduces the stress on family members. It allows them to take a step back and be with their loved one as a daughter or son rather than focusing on the tasks of caregiving.
Mental Health and Aging Podcast: The mental health crisis older adults and their families are facing.
Blog post: Preventing suicide in older adults
NextAvenue: How Mental Health Care is Falling Short for the Aging
Mental Health America: Depression In Older Adults: More Facts
NAMI – National Alliance on Mental Illness works nationally and locally to highlight and destigmatize mental illness. NAMI helpline: 800-950-6264 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. EST