27th January 2022

Mental Health in Somerset over the festive period

Talking about mental health can be difficult. It is especially difficult for many older people. If you do see your role as talking with older people, then Spark Somerset hopes you find this information a useful resource for talking to older people about what really matters to them.

Covid -19 has affected all our lives and our livelihoods in profound ways over the last year. Many older people have been dealing with anxiety, loneliness, increased physical problems and concern about finances and family members. Older people are also at potential risk of suicidal thoughts and this does not always seem obvious to us. We know for many older people they are less likely to volunteer these concerns and are less likely to complain about losses (of relationships or abilities) as these may be considered to be normal. As such the presentation of mental health concerns are much more likely to be with physical rather than emotional symptoms.

Our mental health affects how we think and feel, and how and how we cope with life’s ups and downs. As people move through different stages of life, circumstances change, our mental health can change too.  Having good mental health helps us relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more. In supporting older people’s mental health recognising the barriers that may exists for people to share their thoughts can be helpful in considering our approaches to support. Older adults will more likely share their concerns if they trust that they will be listened to and it will not lead to unwanted hospitalisation and medications.

Wellbeing is about how we think, feel and behave. Below are some tips to help put into practice things that will support wellbeing:

– Connect with people who make you feel good – by phone, on-line or letter
– Share your worries – with people you trust – or if you are feeling isolated, there are helplines and online support forums. It is normal to feel
overwhelmed to uncertainty and challenging events. Reach out as soon as you can. Its makes the problems harder if you try and cope on your own.
– Exercise everyday and try to go outside and be in nature
– Keep to a routine and eat sensibly, drink plenty of water and keep taking any prescribed medication. Maintain a regular sleep pattern
– Keep your mind active and spend time each day doing activities you enjoy
– Be kind to yourself and others. Often the small things make the biggest difference