Awareness after 60

Well,  When you read the above, you may wonder why the term Mental Health is emphasized .  Well, at the age of 66, I too had the same thought.  While most of the seniors like you & me are enjoying good mental health, many older adults are at risk of developing mental disorders, neurological disorders or substance use problems (the continued use of alcohol, illegal drugs, or the misuse of prescription or over-the-counter drugs with negative consequences) as well as other health conditions such as diabetes, hearing loss, and osteoarthritis. There may be multiple risk factors for mental health problems at any point in life. Older people  may experience life stressors common to all people, but also stressors that are more common in later life, like a significant ongoing loss in capacities and a decline in functional ability.

Depression and mood disorders are also fairly widespread among older adults, and disturbingly, they often go undiagnosed and untreated. Centre for Disease Control & Prevention, USA,  reports that 5% of seniors of age 65 and older reported having current depression and about 10.5% reported a diagnosis of depression at some point in their lives.

A healthy lifestyle can help to prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions, as well as chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. It can also help people recover from these conditions. For those dealing with a chronic health condition and the people who care for them, it can be especially important to focus on mental health. When dealing with dueling diagnoses, focusing on both physical and mental health concerns can be daunting – but critically important in achieving overall wellness.

The same goes for extreme anxiety or long-term depression. Close ones or life partners of the adults  should keep an eye out for the following warning signs, which could indicate a mental health concern:

Don’t hesitate to seek help if your loved one is experiencing any of the symptoms above

There are things you can do that may help. Finding a reason to laugh, going for a walk with a friend, meditating, playing with a pet, or working from home once a week can go a long way in making you both physically and mentally healthy. The company of animals – whether as pets or service animals— can have a profound impact on a person’s quality of life and ability to recover from illnesses. A pet can be a source of comfort and can help us to live mentally healthier lives.  And whether you go to church, meditate daily, or simply find time to enjoy that cup of tea each morning while checking in with yourself – it can be important to connect with your spiritual side in order to find that mind-body connection.

Keep Your Brain Active :

·        Play games like ludo and snakes and ladders, as the counting, colour differentiation, and thinking about the moves help the brain work

·        Engage in crosswords and sudoku

·        Take a mix of different beans like chana, rajmah, raungi, etc., and separate these

·        Give the elderly varied coloured bowls and tell them to tell the differences

·        Use recall value to stimulate the brain. Take old albums, tell the elderly to identify people, and ask questions about the occasion, the time, place year etc.


References:  Indian Express ,Assisting Hands Home Care, USA

V.Natarajan, Former Banker& trainer