The pandemic has effected our Mental Health, there is no doubt. Mercy Crest is conscious of how important it is to address mental health issues. We combat caregiver fatigue within the families that we help through Respite Care or permanent residency, and even within our own staff. We are all human and we all suffer when under stress and pressure. For our residents, depression can come from not being able to see their families, fear of getting sick, the pain of others falling ill, and the death of loved ones. We are all just individuals trying to cope under stressful situations.
What is at risk?
The importance of mental health can’t go unaddressed. For those 65 years or older depression can lead to overall cognitive impairment. For younger generations, depression can lead to substance abuse, child neglect, job loss, addiction, and suicide. Depression late in life can lead to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s. For the elderly within our community, it’s vital to remain social–even today. If you maintain the CDC guidelines for social distancing and vaccinating, there’s no reason why your loved one can’t enjoy the company of friends and loved ones. Here are some myths about elderly mental health.
Mental health is vital to overall health
Humans are social creatures who need attachment and belonging for our overall health. This applies to the new born baby all the way to our oldest residents. According to the National Institute on Aging, “Research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks for a variety of physical and mental conditions: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death.” While this may sound grim, Mercy Crest believes in helping residents fight depression with social engagement, art, and therapies.
What can you do for yourself?
For the caregiver battling depression or burnout, you are not alone. Seek help with a physician, a mental health expert, or a spiritual advisor. Evaluate your options and try to set obtainable goals. Set boundaries with the situations causing you fatigue or stress. Practice mindfulness and try to maintain healthy sleeping patterns. It’s hard to reach out when you need help, but you are not alone. Here’s another article that may help you. If you need additional support caring for your loved one, know that Mercy Crest offers Respite Care to help you find the balance in your life again.
At Mercy, we believe everyone deserves space to be physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy. We don’t believe depression is normal, even for the elderly.
In addition, Mercy Crest is participating in a Walk to End Alzheimer’s on September 25, 2021. If you are interested in participating or donating, click here.