Select Page

Compassionate Care: Supporting the Mental Well-Being of Seniors

by | Dec 13, 2023 | Community, Mental Wellness

Are you caring for a mentally ill senior and finding it challenging to understand their needs? Feeling overwhelmed in such situations is natural, but learning to empathise can make a world of difference.

Show them compassion and patience while acknowledging the difficulties they face daily. Open communication is vital: encourage them to express themselves freely without judgment or criticism. 

To ensure that your loved ones who are still independent receive optimal care, creating duplicates of their medical records and storing them in a dedicated folder is highly recommended. This way, you can stay informed about their diagnoses and treatments when discussing them with healthcare professionals. 

Mental illness is a condition that disrupts the functioning of the mind, leading to changes in our thoughts, emotions, and actions. It significantly impacts our daily lives and can also affect the well-being of our loved ones. 

Diagnosis involves clinical assessments and observations. Despite its prevalence, mental illness continues to be stigmatised, resulting in discrimination against those who suffer from it. Consequently, many individuals hesitate to seek help and treatment. 

For seniors with mental illness, keeping track of medication intake can pose a significant challenge. To tackle this issue, it is recommended to sort pills into daily portions and place them alongside a calendar. Each day, you or your loved one should mark the calendar after taking the prescribed pills to prevent mistakes. 

It is essential to document any new side effects that may arise. Sometimes, changes in behaviour or the emergence of new side effects can occur gradually. If you or your loved one notices any unfamiliar symptoms, it would be helpful to jot them down on your phone or in a journal. This way, you can refer back to these notes later on and quickly identify any unusual changes that may have occurred.

Encourage collaboration by creating a shared calendar. Informing your loved one about upcoming medical appointments may sometimes be met with resistance. However, using an electronic or traditional calendar that both of you can access and update will make your loved one feel more involved in the planning process and give them a sense of ownership over their health.


Frequently check and Be Mindful of Emotional Well-being

Even if you live with an older adult with a mental illness, it requires careful attention to notice changes in their daily moods. Take the time to engage in regular conversations with them. If you start noticing signs of depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts, understand that it is crucial to seek professional help.


Enhance Their Social Connections

Isolation can contribute to depression in individuals of any age. Ensure you regularly set aside time to have conversations, share laughter, and exchange stories with your loved one. Organise safe visits with friends and family so they can engage socially. Encouraging shared hobbies is an excellent way to promote social interaction. Remember that emotional and social well-being plays a significant role in maintaining physical health. You can expand their social networks by inviting your family.

Working out with your loved one’s doctor to choose a few exercises to move those muscles can transform even the most challenging day into a positive one. Just like socialising, regular exercise is an effective shield against depression. Whether taking a brisk walk around the block or doing some gentle stretching indoors, make it a joint activity so you can cherish each other’s presence while staying physically fit.


Assisting Individuals with Mental Illness

Recognising that someone dear to you might grapple with a mental illness can be distressing. However, there are numerous ways in which you can extend your helping hand to them during this challenging time. Educate yourself about their specific mental illness and understand its associated recovery process. 

Practice active listening and demonstrate respect and support for their experiences and emotions. Endeavour to comprehend their perspectives while offering them hope for a brighter future. Encourage them gently but persistently to seek professional treatment and maintain it consistently. Above all, never belittle their emotions or disregard any mention of suicide; take such comments seriously and ensure they receive appropriate help without delay.


Steps to Seek Help for Mental Health Conditions

If you have a loved one going through a mental health condition, we have some valuable resources for caregivers. It’s essential to take that first brave step of acknowledging that seniors may face a mental health condition in silence or struggle alone. This is the crucial starting point towards seeking help and getting the support you deserve. You can reach out to a trusted doctor or mental health professional, confide in your family and friends, find comfort in online forums, or even consider joining a peer support group.

Remember, you are not alone on this journey towards healing and recovery. If you need immediate assistance, don’t hesitate to call the SAMH Counselling Hotline at 1800 283 7019 (toll-free). Help is just a phone call away.

Recovery is a personal path that varies from person to person. However, several common threads run through this process. These include holding onto hope, fostering meaningful relationships with others, reclaiming control over one’s life, taking ownership of personal wellness, finding purpose and significance in life, and developing effective coping strategies (Institute of Mental Health). 

Caring for mentally ill seniors in Singapore is a pressing issue that requires immediate attention. With the ageing population and the increasing prevalence of mental health conditions, we must prioritise providing adequate support and resources for these individuals. By implementing effective strategies such as increased funding for mental health services, specialised senior care facilities, and community outreach programs, we can ensure that mentally ill seniors receive the compassionate care they deserve.

About Growing Needs

About Growing Needs

Growing Needs grew out of our own encounters with caring for our aging parents and reflecting on the Growing Needs that we ourselves would face as we advance in years. We hope to build a community that will learn, share and contribute towards caring for the growing needs of our loved ones.

About Us
Contact Us
Partner with Us
Terms of Service

Privacy Policy

Lifestyle & Wellness
A Better Tomorrow
Follow us
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Sign up for our newsletter to receive updates and exclusive offers
© 2021 - 2024. Growing Needs Pte Ltd. All rights reserved.