Mental health plays a crucial role in the well-being and quality of life for everyone – including seniors. As we age, life changes like retirement, losing loved ones, physical health challenges, and on, can significantly impact our emotional well-being. It’s important to be open with trusted others -physician, friends, pastor, rabbi, etc.- about one’s psychological health. 

Key points – mental health and aging

An image of six smiling seniors standing in a circle, looking down at the camera.Mental hygiene maintenance can help seniors cope with the challenges and changes of life. This can lead to better quality of life with less emotional suffering. Emotional well-being is important, so keep the channels of communication open with those in your circle.

Good mental health is linked to improved physical health and can lessen disability among older adults. In fact, treating mental health conditions can improve cognitive functions. This is key to seniors’ independence and involvement in life.

Seniors with good emotional health are more likely to maintain strong social connections, which are, in turn, essential for emotional support.

Risk Factors

An image of a senior man sitting on the edge of his bed looking sad. Mental health.Loneliness, social isolation, and elder abuse are significant risk factors for psychological health issues in seniors.

It’s estimated that 20% of those aged 55 years or older experience some type of mental health concern. The most common of those are anxiety, severe cognitive impairment, and mood disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder.

An image of a middle-aged or senior woman smiling as she holds a green apple in her hand.Mental wellness is directly related to the rest of the body, so those problems can negatively affect the course and complicate the treatment of other chronic diseases. These problems are also found to be a factor in cases of suicide among seniors.

One in five U.S. Medicare beneficiaries have reported a diagnosis of depression, anxiety, or another mental health condition.

You can learn even more about the importance of psychological health maintenance and resilience from the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIH).

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