Mental illness, including depression, grief or anxiety, can affect a person at any stage of life, but tends to become more prevalent as we get older. When it comes to seniors, mental health is vitally important, as the onset of mental illness can bring with it many challenges. At Home Care Assistance, our Care Professionals are trained not only to recognise the warning signs, but will also help support both you and your loved one through these difficult times.
The elderly may be more vulnerable to mental illness, specifically those who go through a lot of change in their lives such as financial stress and a deterioration in health which, can lead to a loss of independence and social activity. These changes can often times result in withdrawal and social isolation. Seeing friends pass away can also be a contributing factor to mental distress, leaving a person more susceptible.
Recognising mental health issues in a loved one is important, as it can have a significant impact on their physical well-being. This can include a higher likelihood of suffering health issues, or exacerbating existing issues, which can significantly increase the chances of cardiac events. In addition to this, mental illness can lead to a lack of enjoyment and a decreased quality of life for an elderly person.
Warning signs in the elderly can be complicated by changes to the persons cognitive abilities. This is particularly the case when dementia and depression co-occur.  One of the key warning signs of mental illness is a change in sleeping patterns, including difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or may even sleeping too much. At Home Care Assistance, our dedicated Care Professionals are trained and experienced in identifying these changes, and will work closely with families when it comes to helping manage mental health issues.
Other indicators may include changes in mood, not eating or eating more than usual, substance abuse, signs of anxiety or hopelessness – even suicidal thoughts. Our Care Professional will monitor any changes, and always recommend that the family does the same. If you are concerned about any changes in your loved one’s demeanour, raise this with your Care Professional or Care Manager.
If mental health issues are identified, help and support is available. Often the best place to start is with your family GP. They can approach any mental health issues, as well as assess all medications or treatments your loved one has already been prescribed.
There are also several call support services available, who are equipped to help support your loved one. These services include:
- Beyond Blue (for people feeling depressed or anxious) – call 1300 22 4636 or chat online
- SANE Australia (people living with a mental illness) – call 1800 18 7263
- Black Dog Institute (people affected by mood disorders) – online help
- Lifeline (for anyone having a personal crisis) – call 13 11 14 or chat online
- Suicide Call Back Service (24/7 counselling for anyone thinking about suicide) – call 1300 659 467
- Head to Health (for advice, assessment and referral into local mental health services) – call 1800 595 212 from 8:30am to 5pm on weekdays (public holidays excluded).
When it comes to mental health issues, the elderly are vulnerable. At Home Care Assistance, our dedicated Care Professionals are trained to recognise changes in mental health and support those going through mental health issues. If you have any concerns about your loved one’s mental health, discuss with your concerns with your Care Professional. It is also important to let them, or your Care Manager know if there is a plan in place to support the mental health of your loved one, to ensure that they receive the appropriate care to help manage the day-to-day.
Support of an in-home care agency like Home Care Assistance, can bring enormous benefit and comfort to your quality of life while living independently at home. Home Care Assistance has viable solutions when it comes to supporting independent living. For more information, get in touch with a Home Care Assistance near me today.
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As a leading age care provider, Home Care Assistance offers tailored in-home care services for older Australians, enabling them to live happier and healthier lives in the comfort of their own homes.
We offer private and government subsidised Care Packages and have office locations that are a registered NDIS provider. Our Care Workers undergo extensive training in order to deliver unmatched in-home aged care services where people can continue ageing in place. We are proud ambassadors of the My Aged Care government funded aged care program, enabling Australians to successfully navigate the process and gain approval for in-home care support packages. Home Care Assistance offers hourly care, specialised care, Alzheimer’s and Dementia care, hospital to home care, and 24 hour in home care.