While children, teens, and young adults are self-reporting more symptoms of anxiety and depression, American seniors remain remarkably calm and level headed.
According to a study published in Hood River News, 39% of people ages 75 and up described themselves as doing “very well” right now, compared to just 26% of millennials (ages 24 to 39). On the other end of the spectrum, only 5% of seniors confess that they are not doing well in the face of the coronavirus. By contrast, 24% of millennials say they are “not well.”
Why are seniors, one of the most at-risk populations, self-reporting good mental health? Why are many faring much better than expected both physically and emotionally? Learn more below.
Physical And Mental Healthcare are Better Than Ever
These positive outcomes have little to do directly with COVID-19. Generally speaking, healthcare and mental healthcare are better than ever. Healthcare outcomes are improving. Physicians are working hard to drive further progress, and the research detailing what is necessary to improve aging Americans’ health is already there to guide them. The Research and Development (RAND) Corporation reveals that doctors need to adopt comprehensive care plans, taking seniors’ medical conditions and mental health into account. Effectiveness is boosted by increased communication, coordination with homecare services, and patients taking a more active role in their own health.
There is ever-growing awareness about living a healthy lifestyle, which is known to have a tremendous impact on physical health and longevity. Regular exercise, eating healthy, having a strong support system, and limiting damaging behaviors – like smoking and binge drinking – are proven to add years to your life.
The Difference Of A Positive Outlook
“Contrary to general belief, getting older is often associated with being happier, more productive, and more functional – even in older adults with
mental illness,” according to Psychiatric News. In fact, research from the Office for National Statistics reveals that people ages 65 to 79 are the
happiest of all age groups.
Seniors are more likely to devote time to friendships, hobbies, and finding meaning, all things that increase happiness. Plus, seniors with better physical health are even happier than their peers.
Keep The Trend Going
This is all good news, but are there actions we can take to make certain the trend continues? The answer is absolutely yes. In addition to improving physical healthcare and promoting healthy diets and more physical activity, one of the most important things we can offer to aging Americans is companionship.
Consider your options. Programs like the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) enable patients to have a considerable amount of freedom when choosing and hiring home health aides, nurses, or other caring professionals. Taking advantage of the program provides seniors with a skilled nurse and companion who can, amongst many other benefits: support their day-to-day activities around the house, manage a healthy diet, and maintain a medical regimen.
Under CDPAP, seniors are not alone during the day, but they do have greater freedom to live independently, in their own home, with assistance. Fill out a CDPAP application online, or encourage your friend or loved one to bring up
the CDPAP application with their primary care provider.
The CDPAP application and the help of a skilled nurse are just a few items in your toolbox. Seniors should also regularly interact with friends and family, and mark special occasions, like birthdays and holidays, by spending quality time with loved ones.
We are all moving along our own timelines, and that is something to be celebrated. Studies show that seniors are the happiest of us all. A positive
outlook and high quality of life go a long way towards improving both their physical and mental health. You can do your part to support them by offering your companionship and, when extra help is needed, finding professional assistance through the CDPAP program.