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Factors Affecting Mental Health in Older Adults

There are various mental health issues that seniors face. The Home Care Aide should be familiar with the more common ones in order to recognize signs of mental health deterioration and to provide care which promotes good mental health.

Insufficient or Inadequate Socialization

Social interaction provides a sense of purpose and interactive opportunities with other. As a person ages their social interactions become more restrictive for a number of reasons:

  • They are less mobile.

  • They develop a serious or chronic illness.

  • They lose a spouse or loved one

Lack of socialization can lead to:

  • A decline in nutrition

  • Increased anxiety/depression

  • Substance abuse

Social isolation may develop because of:

  • Fewer social contacts

  • Aging

  • Death of spouse or loved one

  • Financial problems

  • Living alone

  • Transportation problems

  • No friends or relatives in close proximity

  • Change in residences

  • Health issues

  • Physical problems

  • Deteriorating cognitive power

  • Increased usage of medication

  • Life satisfaction

  • Gender

How Can Home Care Aides Assist A Client Who Is Socially Isolated?

  • Discuss situations and possible solutions with appropriate people (i.e. Care team, family friend);

  • Encourage more social activities;

  • Attempt to make the client feel needed and valued;

  • Encourage the client to participate in community activities and events;

  • Try to find access to transportation;

  • Tell the client about supports and services for seniors in the community;

  • Arrange for client to be accompanied on first outing

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