Mental Health Challenges Faced by Older Adults

11 September 2018

As people age, new challenges will be encountered.

Older adults face a unique set of challenges that they may not have experienced before, including:

  • changes to their physical surroundings
  • having to downsize
  • moving in with family
  • moving to an aged care facility.

Other issues that may present more in the aged population include:

  • an increased likelihood of chronic disease and pain
  • memory impairments
  • becoming a carer for a spouse
  • the death of family and friends
  • an increased awareness of one’s own death.

Consequently, many older adults report feelings of grief, loneliness, irritability, low mood and anxiety. The risk of concerning mental health implications such as Major Depressive Disorder, anxiety disorders, and Adjustment Disorder increase without support from family, friends, and health professionals.

This adjustment phase can be made smoother with help from a psychologist who can assist the person with the acquirement of new skills to manage newfound daily stressors, grief over a loved one or their old life, and in some cases, more severe mental health issues. The aim of therapy with older adults is to create a safe space for the person to share their daily stressors, worries and fears about practical and/or mental state changes, the future, and death.

How Seed Psychology can help

Our psychologists work from a strengths-based perspective to help older adults utilise their own personal resources and support network to elicit change. Other evidence-based therapies and strategies will also be used, such as Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy.

Written by Jessica Chu, Psychologist at Seed Psychology