According to the UK mental health organisation, one in five older people living in the community experience depression or poor mental health, and this can affect us in all sorts of ways. Here at Halton stairlifts, we understand that your mind matters! So we’ve put together our top tips for how to look after your mental health in later life. Read on to find out our practical mental health tips for older people.
Understanding mental health
When we think of our overall health, often how we look physically is the first thing that comes to mind. But, our mental health is an essential part of our overall health and wellbeing, and is equally as important as physical health, particularly as we get older. Our mental health is about how we think and feel. It’s our outlook on life and how we are able to cope with life’s ups and downs.
Find your spark
It can be hard to get motivated as we get older, perhaps you’re dealing with the loss of a loved one, or feeling at a loose end following retirement. If you haven’t had many interests outside of work it can be hard to find something new to do, and may take a few attempts before you find something that’s right for you. But, finding a sense of purpose can be rewarding and can bring us out of a slump. Remember not to rush the process – think about the skills and talents you have that can be put to good use and can give you fulfilment. Consider helping out with a local community organisation or project, or doing conservation work that’s close to your heart.
Talk about what’s bothering you
Don’t feel tempted to bottle things up. The phrase ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ has stood the test of time for good reason. Getting things off your chest can allow you to share how you’re feeling and help you feel supported and less alone. Talking about how you feel, isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s actually about making a conscious decision to take charge of your mental health and wellbeing. Speak to someone you trust in confidence such as a carer, neighbour, health professional, or of course close friends and family that you feel comfortable with. Sharing your true thoughts and concerns can allow you to all make steps to solve things together.
Mental health in older adults is important. If you know someone who is struggling, encourage them to arrange an appointment with their GP to discuss it in confidence. Your GP can help in all sorts of practical ways: they can lend an ear and recommend relevant things such as help from a specialist, counselling, or support from another part of the health service.
Sometimes things can weigh heavy on our minds. From house moves to funeral arrangements, allowing something to become a constant worry can be bad for our mental health and wellbeing. Maybe the thought of wanting to remain independent as you get older has got you concerned. But whatever it is, tackling things head-on can help us to avoid that feeling of worry or dread we get when we put things off for a long time. By voicing these concerns and having a plan of action, we can start to feel more in control, and this can allow us to feel better about things. In turn, this can improve our outlook.
Planning activities and days out with people whose company you enjoy can also do wonders for our well-being. Having positive and enjoyable things to look forward to – whether it’s a day trip out with the family, or a meal or theatre show with a friend – can be great for our mood and our mental health.
If you know someone who’s mental health would benefit from the peace of mind a stairlift brings, get in touch with our friendly team of experts at Halton Stairlifts. Call 0800 644 7766 to find out more about our full range of curved and straight stairlifts, or to arrange your free home assessment today.