Mental Health Awareness Month was originally celebrated in 1949. That was 73 years ago! The goals of the sponsoring organization, originally the National Committee for Mental Hygiene (now Mental Health America), were to improve attitudes toward mental health/illness, improve services for mental health clients, and promote mental health.
Older adults are more at risk for depression often because of social isolation. Everyone needs social connections to survive and thrive, but as people age, they often find themselves spending more time alone. Studies show that loneliness and social isolation are associated with higher rates of depression.
Potential signs of mental health distress in seniors include confusion, disorientation, and problems concentrating or decision making. There may also be changes in weight, due to increase or decrease in the appetite. Memory loss, unexplained fatigue, energy loss, or sleep pattern changes are also indicators of mental health distress.
It is important to attend to mental health just like you would physical health because they are equally important components of overall health. For example, depression increases the risk for many types of physical health problems, particularly for long-lasting conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
At VITALIA Active Adult Community® – Solon Solon, OH we understand depression is a treatable condition like diabetes or hypertension. Don’t settle for being depressed at any age! It is not a normal part of getting older. A primary care physician or mental health specialist can address chronic feelings of sadness.