Emotional and psychological well-being is important at every phase of life. Common psychological issues like depression and anxiety can have a long-term impact on individuals, especially the elderly when left unattended. It can even lead to physical and mental impairments and hinder the treatment of prevailing chronic diseases.
While the condition is alarming, the good news is that it is completely treatable. In addition to the possibility of clinical treatment and therapy, several other ways can be leveraged to ensure emotional and psychological well-being in our elders and help them live healthy and happy golden years.
Before jumping onto these ways, let us first gain some knowledge on the causes of psychological issues like anxiety and depression in old age.
Psychological Issues in Old Age
Poor mental health is a serious cause of concern among elderly people in India, owing to the modern world scenario that promotes a fast-paced life with nuclear families. However, identifying the underlying issues can help control the condition and make life a whole lot better for our elders. Here are some common causes of psychological problems in elderly people.
1. Physical health
Ageing is inevitable and brings along certain health conditions, leading to the deteriorating physical health of elderly people. Further, the health problems tend to reduce their capability to perform physical activities, including daily chores. All this gets frustrating for them, thereby leading to stress, anxiety and even depression.
Another common cause of psychological well-being issues in older people is the sense of being left alone. As mentioned earlier, the modern world has made the younger generation leave their homes for better career opportunities. This change in family dynamics is difficult to accept for their old parents, leaving them with a deep longing. This, in turn, results in depression and anxiety.
Our parents are the reason where we are today. They ensured to put in every bit that was required to give us a better future. But, this sudden dependency that comes with age can be a little overwhelming and depressing for them. The feeling of not being able to do even the daily chores without the help of children or other family members can take a toll on their mental health.
Ageing cannot stop our old parents from worrying about us. This, along with other physical and mental health issues, leads to insomnia in elderly people. Adding to it is the unused energy stored in their body due to a lack of physical activities. Long-term insomnia has a direct effect on their mental health, thereby leading to emotional and psychological well-being issues.
Promoting Emotional and Psychological Well-Being in Old Age
As a society, we need to come together and ensure that our senior citizens are getting the right care to keep psychological issues at bay and live healthy lives. In line with the thought, here are some tips on how to promote psychological well-being and ensure the good mental health of the elderly.
1. Social interaction
As loneliness is one of the common causes of psychological well-being issues in older people, it is important to ensure their social connectedness. This social circle can be of anyone ranging from family members to friends and acquaintances. One can also enrol them in various senior citizen activities like laughter clubs, recreational activity groups, etc., to keep the feeling of isolation at bay.
2. Physical activities
Be it a daily yoga or exercise, religiously practising it for at least 30 minutes every day will stimulate their mind and body to stay sharp and focused, thereby avoiding the risk of cognitive decline. Additionally, it can help strengthen their bodies and increase independence.
3. Mind games
Among the various ways acting as a support to improve emotional and psychological well-being in the elderly, the most interesting one is the use of fun and interactive games. Our brain requires stimulation to stay healthy and correctly function and these games help sharpen certain mental abilities like thinking, planning, decision making, etc., thereby promoting good mental health in the elderly. Try games like Pictionary, monopoly, chess, sudoku, etc.
Another interesting way to promote emotional and psychological well-being in the elderly is practising meditation. A 20-30 minutes session every day can give you promising results in reducing anxiety, stress, depression, insomnia, isolation, and social exclusion in elderly people. There are various meditation techniques for the elderly with findings on how it is a miraculous way of healing for the elderly, thus, encouraging you to give it a try.
In a nutshell
The deteriorating mental health of our elders can turn fatal if left unattended for a long time. However, the fact that it is completely treatable with some love, care and timely medical attention, brings the situation to our control.
If you need assistance in taking care of your old parents or grandparents and advice on how to engage the elderly in social activities, our experts at Emoha are happy to help you. With our #Missioneldersfirst approach, we understand the needs of our elders and provide them with the right care at the right time.