Senior counseling can help older adults manage aging and geriatric issues
As adults progress into their golden years, the onset of health problems and the reality of aging can begin to set in and cause significant lifestyle changes. For some, these changes can be harsh and lead to the development of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Transitioning into the later stages of life can be a difficult process due to general life events, retirement challenges, health issues, and growing emotional and psychological issues that may remain unresolved. Seeking geriatric psychiatry (commonly referred to as senior counseling) is a great way to ease stress and learn how to deal with the process of aging in a healthy and sustainable manner.
How Aging Affects Your Mental Health
Older adults are the fastest-growing population in the country, with 10,000 adults turning 65 every day. While transitioning into the later years of your life is something that many adults look to with fondness, the process itself is full of challenging and abrupt transitions. Retirement can leave adults bored and unmotivated, health conditions can restrict activity, and the overall reality of entering the golden years can be a difficult pill to swallow for many adults who now are living well into their 80’s and 90’s.
It is estimated that 1 in 5 adults over the age of 55 experience some type of mental health problems. The most common conditions include anxiety, depression, severe cognitive impairment, and mood disorders such as bipolar disorder. The reality is that all adults will experience some degree of cognitive decline as they age, which makes it vital to ensure you handle these changes properly.
Impairments to memory, mood, energy levels, and motivation are all-natural results of the aging process. If these natural declines are not dealt with healthily and are combined with stress and anxiety surrounding the aging process, mental health problems are much more likely to surface. With that being said, it is important to distinguish between real mental health issues and the natural effects of aging.
Some of the most common mental health symptoms to keep an eye out for include:
- Anxious tendencies and constant worry
- Sleeping issues/Insomnia
- Uncontrolled feelings of anger or sudden aggressive outbursts
- Inability to stay focused or present
- Loss of appetite
- Prolonged feelings of guilt or hopelessness
Why Seeking Treatment Is Important
How you transition into old age is very important and can determine how heavily your mental health affects your overall health. If you ignore signs of mental issues such as depression and anxiety, they can begin to have drastic effects on other aspects of your health and leave you with a much higher predisposition for developing chronic health issues.
Depression and anxiety, especially, can cause significant stress on your heart and brain health and lead to a much higher risk for both cardiac diseases and mental conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
It is perfectly normal to have mixed feelings about the latter years of your life, but establishing a support lifeline with a professional is critical to help you cope in a healthy manner.
Senior Counseling Therapy
Undergoing professional therapy is something that health professionals highly recommend for every adult transitioning into their later years, especially with the growing number of adults who have difficulty adjusting. It is imperative to stay educated on what you are going through and understand what is happening to your body and mind as you age.
This is the goal of common therapeutic techniques such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – to teach patients a set of skills for managing their moods and thought patterns. Patients must be able to learn new ways of thinking and be willing to engage in new behaviors, which is something every older adult could benefit from.
The fresh perspective that therapy can provide is invaluable and can help ease your worries about the new stressors in your life and how to deal with your negative feelings in a healthy manner. Most importantly, therapy can help older adults who may have difficulty dealing with the transition and managing their emotions find new sources of enjoyment and meaning, find new support systems, and learn healthier thought processes and coping mechanisms. The knowledge and skills you will gain from therapeutic measures can sustain you throughout what should be the most enjoyable era of your life.
Our professional team is here to provide caring, understanding, and warm-hearted support to all of our patients. The worst thing you can do is be ashamed or embarrassed about your situation, and reaching out to us really is the best thing you can do to ensure you are taking care of your mental health as you age.