Mental health is essential to overall health and well-being no matter your age. Mental health includes your emotional, psychological and social well-being—affecting how we think, feel and act. Just like physical illnesses, mental illnesses can affect various aspects of your health if left untreated. Below you can learn about the importance of taking care of your mental health as you age, as well as the resources available to older adults.
Decline of Mental Health in Aging Adults
According to the Center for Disease Control, it is estimated that 20% of people aged 55 years or older experience some form of a mental health concern. The most common concerns include anxiety, severe cognitive impairment and mood disorders, such as depression or bipolar disorder. Mental health issues are considered a factor in cases of suicide, and older men have the highest rate of suicide of any age group.
How to Take Care of Your Mental Health as You Get Older
Just like the day-to-day activities you can do to maintain your physical health, there are a variety of things you can do to help maintain your mental health:
- Stay active: Staying active is just as important for your mental health as it is for your physical health. Exercise will not only give you more confidence in your body’s capabilities but it also helps manage stress, anxiety and depression.
- Brain games: While our body needs physical activity to stay healthy, our brain needs stimulation to help it stay sharp. Activities such as reading, writing, playing puzzles and games can help delay memory decline and enhance your mental health.
- Keep in touch with friends: Maintaining relationships with friends and family, whether it’s in-person, through letters, phone calls or video chat, can help prevent feelings of isolation and loneliness.
- Find a new hobby: Finding a new hobby can help you achieve something you’ve always wanted to do, but it can also help you create connections with others. A new hobby can help stimulate your brain and create an activity for you to take comfort in.
Mental Health Services Available to Older Adults
There are a variety of Population Health partners and benefits that help seniors maintain both their physical and mental health. Population Health works with some of the most trusted service providers in the nation, such as Thriveworks, which provides online counseling and onsite therapy to help manage life challenges such as depression, anxiety, relationship issues, major life changes and more.
Explore Mental Health Services with Population Health
Your mental health should be treated with the same urgency as your physical health. Whether you’re interested in learning about mental health services in your area or just want to know more about the benefits and resources available to you, a Population Health membership can help you do just that and more.