Quality of Life and Mental Health in Old Age: How Therapy Can Help

Quality of Life and Mental Health in Old Age - How Therapy Can Help

Having the quality of life and mental health in the elderly is possible! As expected, people in this age group have different concerns, expectations, needs, and challenges. To adapt to these aspects, it is necessary to take certain attitudes.

Care for the mental and physical health of the elderly is expected to increase exponentially in the coming years. The increase in this population will demand more care with their psychological and physical well-being, making the aging process more satisfactory.

Factors That Impact the Quality of Life and Mental Health of the Elderly

It is not just changing in the physical body that affects the mental health of older adults, but also changes in their relationships, several commitments, life purpose, self-esteem, and every aspect of everyday life.

Some individuals do not express dissatisfaction or unhappiness with the decrease in their functional capacity or with the changes in appearance.

Others can’t accept that they don’t have the same physical strength, disposition, concentration, and memory as before. Elderly people who are very attached to work can also feel bad when it comes time to retire, keeping them away from one of their main sources of pleasure.

What’s more, watching the constant social changes can be exhausting if you don’t have a malleable mindset. Values, ambitions, problems, and even physical environments, such as establishments, neighborhoods, and cities, change as the new generation grows up.

In order not to get into a constant fight with the world, the elderly person needs to follow or, at least, accept the changes even when they are contrary to the ideals cultivated since childhood. Otherwise, mental health can suffer from lasting conflicts of ideas.

Another relevant factor for the quality of life and mental health of the elderly is the appearance of pathologies. The treatment, the physical limitations caused by the disease, and the consumption of various medicines can accentuate the discomfort in the elderly.

Warning Signs for Mental Disorders in Old Age

Although dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are the most feared conditions in this age group, they are not the only ones to be concerned about.

The elderly themselves and their families should be aware of depression and anxiety. If older people live alone or away from family members, attention to the signs of these mental disorders should be redoubled.

Questions about well-being and state of health and mood can be subtly raised so as not to upset the elderly. Children can also talk to parents about mental health in old age to encourage self-care.

Below, we highlight some indications that it is necessary to increase care with the quality of life and mental health of the elderly:

  • Crestfallen mood;
  • Stress ;
  • Lack of interest in leaving home or engaging in activities;
  • Marked memory loss;
  • Constant irritability and sadness ;
  • Complaints about lack of purpose in life;
  • Disorientation;
  • Dissatisfaction with the changes caused by aging;
  • Increased pain in the body;
  • Lack of appetite, resulting in extreme thinness;
  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping;
  • Energy loss;
  • Desire to isolate oneself;
  • Apathy towards warnings from children, friends, and health professionals about symptoms.
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As soon as the repetition of these signs in a short period is noticed, it is already possible to contact a psychologist.

Not all attitudes to help, however, maybe by the tastes of the elderly. It is common for parents and children to have different perspectives and the confrontation of ideas increases when parents reach old age. The so-called “role reversal”, where the younger ones take care of the older ones, however, is part of the natural cycle of life.

It is possible to have the quality of life and mental health in the elderly!

Old age does not need to be marked by moments of stress, loneliness, and reminiscences about youth and lost dreams.

Even with the natural challenges of aging, the elderly can overcome demotivation and live with more quality. The dreams continue even after retirement or a diagnosis of chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

This phase of life may require some modifications, which should not lead to the end of life goals.

Brain gymnastics, logical reasoning games, and memory exercises help to work brain functions in the face of their natural reduction. Finally, gymnastics, water aerobics, and walking (physical exercises in general) are the best remedies for illnesses, including mental ones.

Each stage of life requires the same effort. Puberty, early adulthood, middle age, old age… All have unique characteristics and encourage people to seek new ways of living.

Therapy Can Help Increase the Quality of Life and Mental Health of Older Adults

Psychotherapy is a process aimed at healing emotional and psychological discomfort through multiple approaches. It’s where people go to expose their problems, vent, and find solutions to live well.

Patients of all ages are welcome in therapy. Psychologists are also able to deal with a variety of problems, from the simplest to the most severe.

For the elderly, therapy can offer comfort and advice in the search for a new life purpose. Issues such as dissatisfaction with the appearance that exposes marks of time and physical limitations, as well as distant relationships with children, can also be resolved.

These common old age fears can seem like “lost causes” to the elderly person who feels them, especially if the thought of “life has come to an end” is present. Feelings of resignation can lead to depression and other psychological conditions that steal joy.

Therapy can help the elderly to understand that it is possible to have the quality of life and mental health at any time of human existence, in addition to having better control of their emotions and feelings.

Aging is a process common to all people. After spending a life of battles and overcoming, old age arrives to provide a well-deserved rest. This quieter phase of life can be both a fresh start and a period of introspection, where the goal is to connect with yourself.

Living with unresolved emotional suffering and personal and/or interpersonal conflicts hinders the enjoyment of it. So, if you’re thinking about therapy, don’t hesitate!

The Author

Oladotun Olayemi

Dotun is a content enthusiast who specializes in first-in-class content, including finance, travel, crypto, blockchain, market, and business to educate and inform readers.