Home Health: 5 Ways to help seniors with depression or anxiety

Home Health: 5 Ways to Help Seniors with Depression or Anxiety

Our beloved seniors have been through a lot in their lifetime and looked after us in so many ways. They can be incredibly strong, cheery and positive so it is heartbreaking to think there are some seniors who after everything, are not being looked after or looking after their own mental health.

Here are some surprising facts about depression and mental health in our seniors according to MentalHealth.org:

  • 1 in 10 seniors has depression.
  • Depression affects around 22% of men and 28% of women aged 65 years and over.
  • It is estimated that 85% of older people with depression receive no help at all from the NHS.
There are so many ways we can help seniors that live alone or are isolated from friends and family. As we are daily home care providers we would love to share ways that we can all help the seniors in our lives and fellow caregivers.

Ways to improve mental health in seniors:

1. Combat Sleeping Problems

It can be very common in seniors to experience lack of sleep due to restlessness or inability to sleep particularly those that have dementia or suffer from sundowning.

A couple ways around sleeplessness:

  • Medication: use herbal remedies or sleep medication to help - if sleep medication is the way forward, be sure to keep an eye on usage. Space out the use of sleep medication to avoid over-use or addiction.
  • Meditation: we seem to associate meditation with the younger generations, but why is not encouraged amongst seniors too? Meditation works on minds of all ages even when there’s a lot of calm in that person’s life, it does no harm in taking 10-20 mins per day or before bed to wind down.
  • Being more active: restlessness in all ages can be down to lack of activity or stimulation in the daytime. Are they active enough? If not, tip number three of this list will provide some inspiration.

Regular medication could be disturbing their sleep or keeping them awake too so it can be beneficial to discuss this with them and a doctor if you can associate lack of sleep with any newly prescribed meds.

2. Providing or Rebuilding a Sense of Purpose

Depression can often be fused by the simple fact of losing a sense of purpose.  Loneliness in seniors comes from losing friends along the way, relatives growing up or unable to travel themselves leaving them in a very narrow tunnel of purposes (that they can see) as well as being retired from work.

Sometimes we just need to remind them that specially in 2020, there are a whole variety of things that they can do and be involved in to put the purpose back into their lives.

Activities such as yoga (yes, indeed!), volunteering, card playing and digital games if they are able to use an electronic device, are fantastic sources for hobbies and daily fulfilment.

3. Daily Fulfilment

Although some may not be do able, daily chores are a great way to keep seniors’ fulfilment on the up.  Simple tasks like washing up, cleaning, tidying, doing the laundry can be wondrous for both physical and mental health.

Dog walking is a great way for them to get them out of the house and walking around the block as well as having a furry companion to keep them feeling loved and not alone at home. If they are unable to do this, they can perhaps look after a smaller animal or even a plant.

Gardening or looking after plants is also a physical exercise. It provides seniors with a sense of responsibility plus, a proven mood-booster even for those suffering from depression or feeling depressed.

Why not splash out on an array of indoor and/or outdoor plants to fill their house with?

If you would like to learn more about hobbies for seniors, read the article here.

4. Social Interaction

Show them that they are loved and not alone with phone calls and drop ins. We understand some family members feel the pressure is all on them if other relatives are away or life is hectic, so we suggest regular phone calls for those unable to regularly pop in.

Video calls have been a saviour for a lot of our client’s families. They said it feels like being in the room with them and you can still catch up over a cuppa! Setting a relative up with a device to video chat is a real win and probably an underrated yet marvellous source for social interaction in seniors.

We understand that most seniors also don’t want to dabble in electronics, but it’s worth pursuing and takes the pressure off caregivers.

Encourage them to listen or continue listening to radio shows! The difference between radio and TV is that radio is more of a ‘voice’ or ‘person’ in the room; whereas TV is purely entertainment.

Fun fact: during the WWII women, used radio to comfort them when their husbands were at war or away for work. Shows like The Archers became incredibly popular in this era and those at home would have this on the radio while doing the chores!

The concept works for all genders to this day - so keep encouraging them to tune in.

5. Professional Help & Home Care or Assisted Living

If you are becoming increasingly concerned and have done what you feel you can for your loved one, it could be time to look at getting professional help such as counselling and / or home care for them.
Home care helps everyone involved and can easily spare up more quality time with your loved one to help their mental health and improve their quality of life.

Helping Hands

Everyone needs a helping hand and professional help such as home care can be the best decision for everyone involved. We speak to family members and friends of clients to keep them closely updated not just with the physical or medical side, but also the mental health of their relatives we look after.

It can be heartbreaking and often family feel helpless when their relatives’ mental health is deteriorating so it’s important that they know how they too can help with us by their side.

We hope you have found this article helpful, please share this with any caregivers who may need some help.

If you are looking for home care for a loved one, we offer flexible, tailored care plans within the BH1 - BH10 area. Do not hesitate to contact our Registered Manager, Rhian on 01202 064 325 or book an appointment here.

Helpful Resources

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