“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 in relation to their mental health and wellbeing that no other age group generally has.
Only a small amount of research has focused specifically on older Australians experiencing mental ill-health. The studies that have been done 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. Carers can often end up supporting aged persons for issues outside of mental health conditions – quite commonly, dementia, hypertension, and diabetes.
It is not all bad news, however. Compared with other age groups, elderly Australians generally experience positive levels of wellbeing. There are many advantages that can come with being older. This is when aged and elderly people have more time for family, friends, travel, hobbies, and other things they may have wanted to do for a while. Not to mention they’re wiser, and more experienced.
Through your own research, you can learn what brings comfort, wellbeing, and a renewed sense of purpose or meaning 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 and embrace healthy and active 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 tailored resources below to help you get started.