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April is Stress Awareness Month and Here are Common Elderly and Senior Mental Health Risk Factors

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April is Stress Awareness Month, which is a good time to take stock of your mental health if you are elderly or a senior. There are typically many different causes of mental health health issues. 

You can have mental health struggles even if you’re healthy. Factors include your social, physical and psychological conditions.

Here are risk factors that can lead to meant health issues:

  1. More stress: Experiencing more stress than normal can lead to mental health issues. Traumatic events, financial changes, loss of loved ones, a change in living circumstances, or caring for someone who is chronically or terminally ill can all cause stress overload.
  2. Family history: Genetics may have a role in mental health and make some people higher risks. Sometimes being susceptible to mental disorders go down through the family.
  3. Loneliness or social isolation: Seniors and the elderly may struggle with feelings of isolation because of their health, living situation, and other factors. These feelings can linger, leading to depression and other mental health problems.
  4. Financial struggles: Entering retirement can result in simplifying their lives for many seniors. It can mean changes to things they’ve enjoyed, a change in their living situations, and these may be compounded by health issues.
  5. Loss of loved ones or close friends: As people age, they naturally experience the loss of loved ones or close friends. Grieving is part of these experiences. But they may experience the loss of more of their friends, partners, spouses, and family and that can be very stressful and emotionally taxing for them.
  6. Not eating well: A poor diet can starve a senior or elderly person of the nutrients they need to enjoy good health for their physical and mental well-being. It may be financial reasons, or choices, but not eating well takes its toll on mental health. Other factors include substance abuse such as too much alcohol or drugs, which can lead to mental disorders.
  7. Medical issues: Some medical issues such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions can lead to depression or other mental health issues. Sometimes medications to treat illnesses and diseases can also lead to mental health problems.
  8. Loss of independence: Not being able to do the things they’ve always done is hard on seniors and the elderly. Coupled with what can be common factors such as chronic pain, lower mobility, and other aging challenges, seniors and the elderly may suffer mental health issues as a result.

Recognizing these risk factors and how they may affect your mental health are part of the process to improve your overall health and enjoy a high quality of life. Look for another blog post this month with tips for enjoying good mental health as seniors and the elderly.

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