Part of Coordinated Seniors Services holistic approach to care-giving includes maintaining an awareness of a persons mental health as well as their physical well being.
According to the Canadian Coalition for Seniors Mental Health, the three leading issues faced by Seniors are Delirium, Depression, and Suicide.
They define Delirium as “a sudden and severe disturbance in thinking. It can cause changes in a persons ability to stay alert, remember, be oriented to time or place, speak or reason clearly.”
CCSMH also discusses depression among seniors. “Being a senior can be a time of great joy, and great losses. These years do not have to include mood swings, low energy, and poor focus. Having those challenges does not mean you are weak. They might be due to a serious medical issue – depression. Depression is more than just having a bad day or feeling down. If you feel sad, hopeless or bored with things you normally enjoy, for weeks or months… you may be experiencing depression. Depression is an illness like any other. Tell your doctor how you feel. Talking with a medical expert is a major step to getting help and feeling better.”
Sadly, the rate of suicide among seniors is climbing. Kimberly Wilson, executive director of the Canadian Coalition for Seniors Mental health says that “while suicide is often associated with younger people, men over the age of 85 have-on average suicide rates than all other age groups.” Although suicide death rates are lower among senior women, they have a higher range of attempts compared to senior men.
“We also know that the baby boom generation is a group that has a high lifetime suicide rate. This statistic, coupled with the aging demographics in Canada, will likely mean a greater number of older lives lost to suicide in the future.”(Toronto Sun June15,2013)
Mental Heath Care and Prevention begins with being open to discussion and responding to symptoms with the same proactive concern you would to physical symptoms. Is your loved one sad or depressed? Have you noticed changes to their sleeping and eating patterns? Have they become more isolated and withdrawn, avoiding their friends, family, or social supports. Have they expressed feeling hopeless, helpless, anxious or worthless? Have they lost interest in things they care about.? Do you notice less motivation toward independence, or expressions of feeling like a burden to others?
As part of the Mental Health team, Senior care professionals can offer additional support for your Senior,providing positive early intervention strategies and preventing mental health problems from becoming worse.
There are many excellent resource pages to assist you in the pursuit of enhancing or learning about the mental health supports that will best meet your needs.
County of Simcoe Seniors Resources links:
Canadian Mental Health Association:Mental Health and Addiction Services Simcoe County
If you or a family member is experiencing difficulty right now and you need to talk- contact the Mental Health Crisis Line
at 705-728-5044 or 1888-893-8333