Anytime a person is going through a new phase in life, whether positive or negative, it can have a significant effect on their mental health. Therapy sessions with a trained professional can help immensely. Elderly loved ones are certainly experiencing a range of physical and emotional challenges relating to age, but may be more reluctant to seek out help from mental health professionals. Family members should encourage aging loved ones to set up therapy in the face of significant life changes.
Aging Can Be Difficult
There’s no doubt that the challenges of aging can be difficult. While there are many things to love, such as retirement, travel and extended family ties, there are also life transitions that can cause distress. Examples include limited mobility, illness, injury, chronic disease, loss of loved ones, and facing retirement after decades of activity. The decline of memory, vision, hearing, muscle strength, energy levels and more can make seniors feel less like their old selves and they may struggle to adapt. They may resent the fact that they now need home care assistance after living independently for so long.
A professional therapist can help them develop coping strategies and have a healthy approach to the changes they are experiencing.
Many Seniors Resist Therapy
While the mental and physical effects of aging can be frustrating and worrisome for many seniors, they are often resistant to suggestions of therapy. That’s because there is still a certain stigma surrounding mental health care and many elderly people, especially men, feel that only “crazy people” should see a therapist. In reality, seniors are likely to develop serious mental health issues like depression, anxiety, aggression, suicidal thoughts and substance abuse. A qualified therapist can guide seniors toward a mentally healthy attitude about handling the unique challenges experienced by older adults.
Several Ways Therapy Can Help Seniors
When older adults begin therapy, they don’t always have to address issues on aging. They can explore issues relating to their childhood and early adulthood, visit self-esteem issues, go through marriage or couples therapy or overcome trauma from earlier in their life. The benefits of therapy for seniors include helping them with communication, dealing with anxiety and depression, positively managing their emotions, encouraging them to deal with grief and facing any fears they may have about death. There’s no doubt that mental health professionals that specialize in geriatric issues will have an immensely positive impact on aging adults.
Ways to Encourage Aging Loved Ones to Attend Therapy
Because seniors may be resistant to starting therapy, family caregivers need to approach the subject carefully but firmly. Because of the stigma associated with mental health care, it’s important to point out that treating the mind is just as important as treating the body. If the senior had pneumonia, they wouldn’t ignore it or refuse to see the doctor. They would want to get treated right away so they could feel better. It’s the same with mental health issues—in order to stay healthy and happy, seniors need to work with a licensed professional to positively adjust to whatever is affecting them. Family caregivers or home care assistants can provide transportation to and from the therapy session to ensure the aging adult attends regularly.
Seniors that have therapy will definitely benefit from the focus on their mental health. Not only will they be better able to handle all the changes that have happened and that are in store, but they will feel better about themselves, their loved ones and the many years ahead.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING IN-HOME CARE IN SUMMERLIN, NV, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE. CALL TODAY 702-800-4616.