Guest columnist #Dr.BradLucas, MD, is a board-certified OB/GYN who is committed to bringing the strengths of payers and providers together to deliver efficient and effective #healthcare. His expertise is critical to the development and implementation of programs that improve clinical outcomes and ensure high-quality care across all medical conditions for Ohioans.
Symptoms of #mentalhealthconditions in older adults are often seen as a normal part of aging. But the statistics tell another story.
#Depression — the most common condition in older adults — has increased by 15 percent over the past six years in Ohioans 65 and older. It now impacts about 1 in 8 older Ohioans, ranking the state 14th in the nation for the number of older adults struggling with #depression.
As with other serious illnesses, #mentalillness is not the fault of the patient or their caregivers; however, widespread misunderstanding around #mentalhealthconditions remains. Left untreated, #mentalhealthproblems can lead to fatigue, illness or even #suicide.
Older adults have the highest #suicide rate in the country. Studies have repeatedly found that two-thirds or more of older adults who killed themselves had been in a primary care provider’s office in the last 30 days of life — and up to half within one week of their #suicide. In Ohio, #suicide increased 33 percent, from 11.8 to 15.7 deaths per 100,000 adults ages 65 and older over the past four years.
Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.
Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space. #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle
The impact of #socialisolation
#Socialisolation is a major contributor to #mentalhealthconditions in older adults, with 1 in 5 Americans ages 65 and older reported to be socially isolated. This occurs when people withdraw and become disconnected from family, friends and the community.
It can be brought on suddenly with the loss of a spouse or partner, or happen more gradually with separation from friends or family, chronic health conditions and transportation challenges.
“Studies suggest that #socialisolation increases mortality in older adults, and illnesses and conditions such as chronic lung disease, arthritis, impaired mobility and #depression are all linked to it,” said Laura Paynter, director of behavioral health for Buckeye Health Plan.
“Don’t assume that feeling like this is part of getting older. At Buckeye, we encourage our older members to learn the signs of #socialisolation. We can connect them with #mentalhealthspecialists, resources and support.”
Understand the signs of #socialisolation:
• Deep boredom, general lack of interest and withdrawal
• Losing interest in personal hygiene
• Poor eating and nutrition
• Significant disrepair, clutter and hoarding at home
Take action to address #socialisolation
For those struggling or at risk for #socialisolation, Buckeye recommends seeking social opportunities that build your network and help you feel connected to others:
• If you can’t visit with family members and friends, be sure to call often
• Join a group exercise class, as physical activity is good for body and mind
• Give back and volunteer with an important cause
• Get involved with the local senior center, where many activities and group outings take place
• Consider learning something new through a hobby or continuing education program