More than 20% of adults aged 60 and over live with a mental or neurological disorder, according to data from the World Health Organization. The data also shows that often mental health problems for older individuals are not being diagnosed by healthcare professionals, making this figure potentially much larger.
The stigma surrounding mental illness means that many people are reluctant to seek help, which often exacerbates negative experiences of mental ill health. Untreated mental health issues can also negatively impact physical diseases; because older individuals are more likely to experience several conditions at the same time, this can be a serious problem.
However, there is a lot that we can do to help older individuals achieve positive mental health. A sense of purpose in life and being a recognised member of the community can protect against mental health issues, according to the Australian Government’s Health Direct. The research found that there were no further signs of mental deterioration among the groups and individuals that were positively engaged in their community and that they were all well in control of their mental fitness.
The Victorian Government’s Mental Health, Wellbeing, Social Capital and Ageing division draws together program activities with a strong focus on community wellbeing. The Australian Government’s Seniors website also provides information for Australians over 50 years of age on a range of topics, including health, finances, work, volunteering, lifestyle, events and discussion forums. This information can also be accessed by phoning the Aged and Community Care info line on 1800 500 853.
If you’d like to learn more about supporting older individuals with mental health issues, Selmar’s Certificate III in Aged Care and Certificate III in Home and Community Care (Dual Qualification) (CHCICS303A) provides training in supporting emotional wellbeing. Through this nationally recognised qualification, you will develop an understanding of the impact of actions and circumstances on a person’s emotional and psychological wellbeing. You will also learn how to provide support in a manner that promotes their self-esteem and confidence.
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