The elderly who deal with significant physical problems or cognitive decline, who are lonely, or who are grieving or dealing with multiple losses are more likely to experience psychological problems, especially depression. So are older people who have a lot of regret about a life not well-lived and who struggle to find meaning in their lives.
Late life depression, in turn, has been found by researchers to increase self-neglect, cardiovascular problems, morbidity, and risk of suicide. It also leads to worse social and cognitive functioning and compromised quality of life.
Among those living outside group settings, the rate of clinically significant depressive symptoms is 8 to 16 percent and anxiety disorders is 10 to 15 percent. The elderly living in nursing homes fare worse. Most older adults with depression and anxiety do not receive treatment for it.
The author suggests four approaches to bolster or improve mental health:
- life review
- engage in meaningful activities
- disengage from unattainable goals, and
- deal with death anxiety.
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4 ways that older people can bolster or improve their mental health
By Jelena Kecmanovic
November 6, 2021