Emotional health and mental well-being become crucial as we age. Dr. Sai Kaustuv DasGupta, a TEDx and motivational speaker shares his tips on aging well while maintaining peace and happiness.
Emotional health and mental well-being are as important in old age as at any other time of life. We need to remember that today’s senior citizens have been important contributions to society as family members, volunteers and as active participants in the workforce for years. But as people age, they start behaving like children and need to be dealt with accordingly.
Increasingly, senior citizens from urban and semi-urban areas are struggling with loneliness. The main reason being decreased participation in activities and limited interaction with family and society. The rising number of senior citizens and the changing trend of families moving from a joint to nuclear set up leaves them in a lurch. The demanding lifestyle of today’s work culture, lack of space for engagement and the digital revolution has resulted in decreased participation and interaction. This makes the elderly prone to psychological, emotional and social insecurities.
Communication Is The Key
While most have good mental health, many elderlies are at the risk of developing mental and neurological disorders. They might also suffer from various health conditions, which can add to the feeling of depression. Unfortunately, mental health problems are under-identified by health-care professionals and older people themselves, and the stigma surrounding these conditions makes people reluctant to seek help. They try to get help from society but feel abandoned as most of them fail to express their situation.
During my childhood, I used to interact a lot with my grandmother. I used to teach her new songs, used to listen to stories from her which helped me understand her better. So, a basic understanding of new-age people with their parents or grandparents helps reduce the generation gap. That way they feel mentally strong even if they have physical discomforts.
Retire From Work, Not From Life
Staying connected and maintaining strong, meaningful social connections with friends and family goes a long way towards preventing mental health issues in seniors. After retirement, it is still important to maintain a healthy routine. Everyone has a personal wish list of dreams and activities they put off for “one day”. Retirement is the perfect time for seniors to dust off their “bucket list” and pursue a lifelong unachieved goal. Maybe through gardening, sewing, painting or cooking, they can feel happy and energetic.
Every age is enjoyable if one has a few good friends, a passion and a sense of purpose. I have seen that often when people reach a certain age, their personal desires and dreams take a backseat and they stop living life fully. Age is not a barrier and many eminent personalities of the world are doing great work during their later years. I also feel a family bonding, little respect, and unconditional love from children can help reduce many mental issues among senior citizens.