Mental health is a concern for seniors. In observance of Mental Health Month, we thought we’d address some common mental illnesses that can arise as we age and offer simple strategies to help cope with them.
The first signs of a cognitive decline into illnesses like dementia or Alzheimer’s often emerge in the form of memory loss, personality change, or trouble with daily activities. Common in the United States, both illnesses affect about 3 million people. As a caregiver, it is important to recognize these signs and get help as soon as possible. While there is no cure, there are ways to help your loved one cope and sometimes, even improve their situation.
So, how do you know if your loved one is experiencing real cognitive decline toward an illness or simply under stress? Lanny Butler, MS, OTR and author of the book My Past Is Now My Future, discusses early detection of dementia and the stages caregivers should be aware of in an online interview.
Exercise — A Deterrent to Alzhemer’s
Frank Murry, in his book Minimizing the Risk of Alzhemer’s Disease, cites a study by Rene Verreault, M.D. of the Laval University Geriatric Research Unit, in which physical activity was associated with lower risk of cognitive impairment. The study concluded that regular physical activity is an important and potent protective factor against cognitive decline. Consistency is the key, and establishing a daily exercise routine that includes cardio activities such as aerobics, swimming, walking, or water aerobics are great ways to stimulate the brain and body. As a caregiver, look to enroll your loved ones in these activities and participate with them. Your support will go a long way to ensuring they maintain their mental health.
Dementia Resource Guides
Mental health is a tough issue to tackle with your loved one. However, if you’ve already noticed that your loved one is experiencing a cognitive decline, the resources below will help get you educated as to what you can expect and strategies to cope with specific challenges.
- Guide to Dementia and Wandering
- Guide to Dementia and Communication
- Guide to Dementia and Incontinence
Celtic Healthcare can help by providing support and aid as caregiving becomes more challenging. Our certified Home Health and Hospice Clinicians are prepared to help you handle stress of mental illness and provide the best possible care for your loved one. Please contact us for more information at 1.888.923.5842 or at 1.800.358.8227 for our Illinois office.