It has been a difficult year where many of us have experienced isolation and loneliness, which has meant that there has never been a more significant focus on mental health.
You may be considering the best ways to support your elderly loved ones in maintaining their emotional health, particularly as we are heading into the winter months where it may be more difficult for them to get out and about.
Mental wellbeing is just as important as your physical health, so it’s essential to take good care of yourself and understand what mental health is. Mental health refers to how you feel emotionally, including how you think and cope with everyday events.
Depression affects 22% of men and 28% of women aged 65 and over, with many individuals believing that feeling low or anxious about changes taking place in their life is a normal part of ageing. But for some this is not the case, and if problems are ignored, they can impact on a person’s physical wellbeing.
How can you help your loved one?
Promoting Physical activity
Staying fit and active can support good mental health just as much as emotional health impacts on physical wellbeing. Encourage your loved one to go on lovely walks in their local area, or demonstrate how to do chair exercises, and they’ll enjoy a boost of dopamine, perfect for reducing feelings of anxiety, depression and stress.
Finding time to check in regularly can make a world of difference to a person. Life can be hectic, but it’s important to make time to give your loved one a call every few days or drop by for some socially distanced tea and cake and a chat, making sure to ask how they’re feeling. Social interaction can be key for boosting emotional wellbeing and ensures they are not feeling isolated.
Learn coping mechanisms
Coping mechanisms are a great way for your loved ones to take back control of how they’re feeling by checking in with themselves. If you believe they are feeling anxious, restless or overwhelmed, introducing them to meditation and controlled breathing can help.
By breathing in deeply to the count of five, holding for five before exhaling to another count of five, they may find themselves feeling calmer and more peaceful than before.
Teach them a new hobby
Hobbies do wonders for everyone, they can provide your loved ones with something to keep them busy whilst also giving them a chance to destress and relax. Engaging in arts and craft activities, like painting or drawing are brilliant for exploring their creative side and can be simple to get started on.
Other great hobbies could also include knitting, embroidery or cross-stitch and are all perfect for keeping the mind active. Alternatively, if they’re looking for something a little simpler to exercise their minds, crosswords and word searches can be a great choice.
Having a list of helplines
It’s important that you assure them they can easily access professional help and support should you be unavailable, or if they wanted to chat to someone confidentially. There’s a whole host of support available for elderly individuals looking for mental health advice, and many are available via telephone.
For mental health and general advice, call Age UK: 0800 678 1602
For loneliness and general advice, call Independent Age: 0800 319 6789
For mental health support, call the Samaritans: 116 123
For befriending and mental health advice, call The Silver Line: 0800 470 80 90
For grief and bereavement advice, call Cruse: 0808 808 1677
Here at The Beeches Residential Care, we take the mental wellbeing of our residents seriously. Our carers spend time with every resident each day to discuss how they’re feeling and monitor their wellness. We also host a range of daily activities to keep them engaged, allowing residents to explore their creative side while connecting with others socially.
For more information, please visit our website www.thebeeches-ixworth.co.uk or call 01359 230773.