Three Tips for Maintaining Good Mental Health during Retirement

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Did you look forward to the “golden years” after retirement so you could travel, spend time with family, and engage in your hobbies? Retirement brings about positive changes in many people’s lives, but it is a life transition that can cause significant changes in routine, relationships, and one’s sense of purpose. These life changes can increase the number of worries or stresses that you are facing, which might increase the risk of depression and anxiety.

Whether you are experiencing depression and anxiety or you are looking for ways to avoid these mental health issues, there are a few things that you can do. Right now is a great time to take a proactive approach to protecting your mental health:

1. Maintain Physical Activity

Aches and pains are a normal part of the aging process, and sometimes these problems cause people to slow down and avoid physical activity. But, regular physical activity is essential for both physical and mental health. When you exercise, it boosts certain hormones within the brain that keep a person happy. Incorporate light exercise into your weekly routine at least three times per week. Gardening and walking are great ways to get started.

2. Find a Way to Contribute

Retirement can be a difficult transition if you are used to leaving the house on a daily basis for work or other activities. Look for a new hobby or volunteer opportunity that will utilize your strengths and give you a greater sense of purpose. These things will help by expanding your social network and possibly making someone else’s life better.

3. Talk with a Doctor

In addition to making healthy lifestyle changes, it is essential that you talk with your doctor about how you are feeling. He or she can assess your symptoms and make a determination about the best treatment options. A referral to a mental health professional can be helpful, which could include talk therapy and/or medication therapy. The important thing is take steps to get help.

Here at Windward Life Care, we offer assistance for older adults and their families. These resources can be beneficial to give you the support that you are searching for during the later years of life. If you need help finding a qualified mental health professional experience in working with older adults, we can help. Contact us today and we will gladly answer your questions.


Suicide: Older Adults at Risk

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National Suicide Prevention Week

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week, an opportunity to discuss a subject that is too often considered “taboo.” According to the most recent statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control, the suicide rate in the United States is climbing, despite the efforts of public health and mental health advocates to raise awareness and encourage people to seek help.

The most recent statistics from the CDC (from 2011) reveal that U.S. national suicide deaths rose slightly for the fifth year in a row from 12.1 per 100,000 in 2010 to 12.3 per 100,000 in 2011 (rates are per 100,000 individuals). Data from 2012 and 2013 have not yet been released.

Older men are particularly at risk for self-harm. While the risk of suicide declines for women with advancing age, statistics show that men’s risk increases as they get older. Older men die by suicide at a rate that is more than seven times higher than that of older women. White men aged 85+ die from suicide at a rate four times higher than the average rate of suicide nationally. Firearms are the most common method of suicide in older adults (67%), followed by poisoning (14%) and suffocation (12%). Continue Reading →