Is ageing a mental health problem?
Today is World Mental Health Day, and in celebration we’re taking a look at the attitudes towards ageing and mental health…
Is ageing a mental health problem? We don’t think so.
There’s no denying though that in the media there is sometimes a tendency though to view ageing negatively; dementia and depression are often mentioned when talking about older people as an eventual outcome. But is this really the case?
The truth is mental health problems are not just a normal and inevitable part of the ageing process. The reality is just the opposite – according to the Mental Health Foundation the majority of older people enjoy good mental health and make valuable contributions to society. Separate studies have shown people over the age of 55 on average have more life satisfaction and better mental health than people aged 25 – 54. Workers in their 50s and over contribute £230 billion annually to the national economic output – that’s about a quarter of the total economy.
Today, life expectancy is long – many people are comfortably living into their eight or ninth decade, and by 2020 it’s expected there will be more than 12.5 million people over the age of 65 in the UK.
We all want our later years to be healthy and happy – and a good mental health is an important piece of that puzzle. For many years it’s been neglected – or misrepresented – but thanks to the efforts of charities around the world and initiatives like World Mental Health Day, people are becoming more aware of their mental health and overcoming the stigmas once associated with mental illness.
Promoting good mental health
The most common mental health problem for people later in life is depression, and being aware of the risks can help you make sure you’re promoting good mental health in yourself, your friends and your family – particularly any older dependents who might be in your care.
Promoting good mental health is less complicated than you might think. Factors like having reasonable physical health, positive social relationships, adequate income, having something to do and being treated with respect all have a positive impact on mental health and can help reduce the risk of dementia or depression as we age.
Staying active, participating in meaningful activity and having a sense of purpose are the foundations of a high quality of life at any age, but the difference as we get older is there may be more barriers to achieving these things – less attention is given to over 65s in the media compared with teenagers and parents, and being excluded from the workforce after retirement leaves many without a clear sense of direction.
One of the most positive steps we can take towards promoting good mental health as we age is being aware of the challenges and taking a proactive approach to make sure there are meaningful opportunities to participate and contribute in society through our hobbies, interests, responsibilities and relationships.
All content on Silversurfers.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated at all as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Silversurfers will not be responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content on www.silversurfers.com and we are also not liable for the content of any external websites or links from or to Silversurfers to any other websites. Please always consult your own doctor if you’re in any way concerned about any aspect of your health.
Silversurfer's Assistant Editor
Latest posts by Silversurfer's Assistant Editor (see all)
- Do you see the benefits of mindfulness and meditation? - October 17, 2017
- Supporting your mental health in later life - October 16, 2017
- Easy Traybakes for National Baking Week - October 16, 2017
- The benefits of herbal and green tea - October 15, 2017
- Step back in time: to 1955 - October 14, 2017
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!