We are all aware of the importance of looking after our physical health as we age – taking regular exercise, supplementing our diets, taking the time to book the medical appointments that we need. We know that taking care of our health is the key to feeling good and looking good as we get older.
What’s less discussed is how to protect our mental health through the aging process. Some organizations have found that one in five older people experience poor mental health or depression – rising to two in five for those elders living in care homes. It’s vital to be able to take proactive steps in guarding our mental health as we age.
Facing Issues Head-On
Too often, we sweep the mental challenges that come with aging under the rug or dismiss them as something ‘everyone goes through.’ That attitude can be dangerous. Issues such as age discrimination, personal relationships, the impact of physical health issues, financial problems, and lack of fulfilling daily routines can affect how we age. If we try to minimize these issues, they can lead to worsening mental health and related problems such as alcohol and substance abuse. If you experience this or you know someone who is, getting the right support in place is vital – organizations such as Enterhealth Ranch Addiction Treatment, can help. Check them out! https://enterhealth.com/outpatient-ocoe/
Aging can involve a lot of changes, so learning how to be comfortable with change is something that can support older people. Issues such as dealing with retirement, setting a purposeful existence and daily routine, being assured of financial security, and being able to cope with altering health circumstances, new physical limitations, or changes in appearance are vital. Older people can often benefit from keeping an open mind on therapies, such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), which can support keeping an open mind and reframing your thinking.
Having someone to talk to can make a huge difference. A close friend, a trusted family member, even visiting a professional counseling service if you need it – can all make a significant difference in how you feel. As the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved. Managing difficulties and getting the input of other perspectives can help us to make sense of the challenges we encounter as we age, see new solutions, and feel less alone.
Make A Plan
Having a plan for what lies ahead with aging can make the process manageable. Things to consider include events like retirement – and what comes after – staying active, overcoming mobility issues, retaining independence, dealing with loss and grief, access to the right facilities, and maintaining a social life as they are frequently areas that cause troubles in older age. Plan for your time and plan positive things to focus on and do. Life is what you make it, so if you approach the aging process well-informed and proactive, it’s likely to be a lot smoother.
As we get older, it makes us realize that there are things in our lives that we probably should have confronted or done something about sooner. If there are health issues that you have been putting off, now is the time to change that. If you’ve had a mental health issue such as agoraphobia hanging over you, it’s worth finding out how to treat agoraphobia and taking action from there.
Edited by Global Health Aging