May is Mental Health Month in the U.S., which is also a time to raise awareness of mental health as a national health issue. It’s particularly relevant now as the population ages and we seek to spread knowledge and fight stigmas around mental health and well-being.
The U.S. is in a 20-year surge of a population that is rapidly aging, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). From 2013 to 2038, the number of Americans age 65 and older will have increased by 50%. In that same time frame, the number of Americans age 85 and older is expected to more than double from 6 million to 14.6 million.
Mental Health By the Numbers
Nearly one in five older adults have one or more mental health or substance use conditions, according to SAMHSA. These include depression in 16% of women and 11% of men.
In addition, the older population may have complex chronic health conditions. These can range from mental health issues, to substance abuse disorders, and cognitive impairments. About two out of three older adults have two or more chronic conditions.
Tips for Improving Mental Health
In general, some easy tips to improve mental health can range from taking a break from the news, putting down your phone, exercising, meditating or finding personal quiet time, and other ways.
Here are four more specific tips to help you with your mental health:
—Have an open mind about mental health. Information on mental health is easy to find thanks to SAMHSA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and others. You can find a mental health awareness toolkit that has tips, information, and resources for mental health. Being open about your mental health and others’ mental health creates a healthy environment for you as well.
—Find a creative outlet. Find creative outlets during the day to help relieve stress. It can be as simple as a coloring book, which is a form of art therapy. You can doodle, paint, play cards or do other things to get your creative juices flowing and stimulate your mind.
—Be physically active. Take a walk, go for a swim, dance, or engage in some other form of exercise. Being physically active helps both your physical and mental health. Whether it’s yoga, or stretching, or other activities, take time to stay physically active.
—Have a routine. Schedule things to help kickstart — and end — your day. Make sure they are things that bring you joy, even as simple as a cup of coffee in the morning. Start a new book, find an exercise partner for regular exercise, or have a meetup with friends.
A CARING-FIRST ENVIRONMENT
Senior living communities like Regency at Augusta are precisely that—a community. Residents become friends and even family, and a caring team is there to help them maintain their quality of life.
At Regency at Augusta, we offer both Assisted Living and Memory Care and we care with Honesty, Excellence, Accountability, Residents first and Teamwork. We like to call it Caring with H.E.A.R.T.™!
If you believe a senior living community would benefit your loved one, get in touch with us. Schedule a visit or download a brochure today!