“You get to know yourself with age. And you learn perspective too. I never thought I was a very strong or resilient person, and I now know that I very well am!”
Elderly people have their own set of circumstances, challenges, and risk factors related to their mental health and wellbeing that no other age group has.
Only a small amount of research has focused specifically on older Australians living with mental ill-health. The studies reveal that the major areas of stress for older people are: physical health struggles, social isolation, lack of access to treatment, changing living arrangements, and financial stresses.
A challenge common to many aged persons is the experience of grief and loss around their independence, working life, and mobility. Many also have to cope with chronic physical ailments, pains, and changes in their brain function. On the plus side, elderly Australians mostly experience positive levels of wellbeing, compared with other age groups.
There are many benefits that can come with being older. For example, having more time for family, friends, travel, hobbies, and other things that may have been put on hold earlier in life Also, with age comes wisdom and experience.
Through your own research, you can learn what brings comfort and a renewed sense of purpose in life to an older person. This, combined with finding ways to help them stay physically active and socially engaged, can help build good mental health. It can also encourage them to embrace healthy aging.
In supporting an older person, it is important to look after yourself as well. Take a look at our pages on support for carers and how to support someone. We also have resources below to help you get started.