A surprising demographic feels pretty good in the midst of the global pandemic. While children, teens, and young adults are self-reporting more anxiety and depression symptoms, aging Americans are remarkably calm and levelheaded.
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). Put another way, 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 physically and emotionally? Learn more below.
Healthcare And Mental Healthcare Is Better Than Ever
These positive outcomes have little to do with COVID-19. Generally speaking, healthcare and mental healthcare is better than ever. Healthcare outcomes are slowly improving. Physicians have some catching up to do, but the research is there about what is necessary to improve aging Americans’ health. The Research and Development Cooperation (RAND Cooperation) reveals that doctors need to adopt comprehensive care plans, taking all seniors’ medical conditions as well as their mental health into account. Further, increased communication and coordination with patients and home health care services and encouraging patients to take a more active role in their own health will help, too.
There is growing awareness about living a healthy lifestyle, something that can have a tremendous impact on physical health and ultimately increase 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, the Office for National Statistics research 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 that trend continues? Thankfully, the answer is 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 Program) enable patients to have a considerable amount of freedom when choosing, hiring, and (if necessary) terminating home health care aides, nurses, or other caring professionals. Taking advantage of the program provides seniors with a skilled nurse and companion who can help them with day-to-day activities around the house and help them remember to take all their medications. Seniors are not alone during the day, but they also have greater freedom to live independently in their own home or apartment with CDPAP assistance. Fill out a CDPAP application online, or encourage your friend or loved on 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 tools 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.
Do not fear growing old. Multiple studies show seniors are happiest of all — moreso than young adults and their middle-aged children. A positive outlook does a great deal for their physical health. Do your part for aging loved one’s health by offering your companionship and helping them find professional assistance through the CDPAP application and program.