Mental Health in the Elderly

Despite popular belief amongst the generation, mental health issues in elderly people should not be ‘swept under the rug’ and many coping mechanisms are readily available.

There is a common misunderstanding that mental health issues with older people is normal and acceptable, but this is far from the truth.

Truth is only around 9.5 per cent of older people experience one or more mental or behavioural disorders.

There are factors that can negatively impact the mental health and quality of life for older people including social isolation, loss of independence, loneliness and losses of many kinds, including bereavement.

To counteract this, promotion of positive mental wellbeing through physical activity and connection to community will contribute to a positive lifestyle for older people in country areas.Close-up of senior woman in contemplation. Image shot 2006. Exact date unknown.

One way to promote positive mental health is to maintain an active lifestyle, even when there are physical health complaints as any form of movement and activity will benefit mental wellbeing.

Light gardening or tending to pot plants, short walks or to visit a neighbour plus contact with families and friends is all of great benefit.

Information on local community activities and clubs is often available at local councils or libraries and gives a range of ideas often not previously considered.

The important thing to remember is that older people who experience mental health problems can receive help.