Old age is a natural phenomenon and comes with its own set of challenges. As the elder population is increasing, their traditional nurturing and life-sustaining influences are slowly becoming less effective. Depression, dementia, and anxiety are commonly seen in old age and have an effect on senior’s mental health and well-being.
Rapid urbanization in India has caused a lot of problem for the elderly. There are many misconceptions about the process of aging and elders in general; however, depression is commonly seen amongst the elder population. The demand for community care for elders has been part of public discussion since the formal care systems available are not well equipped to provide quality services cater to the needs of the elderly.
The provision of care for the elderly in different countries may differ based on various factors like economy, environment, culture, and demography, many social changes in the society like, breakdown of joint families, increasing urbanization, work-life imbalance etc. forcing traditional societies like India to establish institutions and old age homes for elders. However, the important question is whether these changes are efficient and helpful in maintaining psychological well-being of elders in the country.
It has been observed that most of the institutions and old age homes that care for the elderly have no program or facility for mental health care and only take care of the essentials like food, shelter, and basic health. Elders in old age home feel lonely as compared to elders living with their family. Elders at home and those living in the community have better psychological health, are more independent and happy as compared to those living alone or in old age homes.
However, being with a family doesn’t always guarantee social and mental well-being as there are many cases of abuse and exploitation against the elderly.
Problems related to Old Age
With an increase in the elder population in the country, elder health has become one of the primary concerns. Providing a safe community for elders is a better solution than institutionalizing them or placing them in old age homes, but they’re, not enough funds or social security schemes to take care of them. Hence the need of the hour is to provide services and facilities for the elders to improve their quality of life.
Mental Health for seniors is a serious concern as it leads to depression, dementia, and anxiety which further affects the physical health of the elders.
Care for the Elderly
Due to rapid urbanization and industrialization, families are not able to take care of the elders and therefore not able to contribute or provide help towards their mental and physical well- being.
Lack of awareness on elder healthcare, inadequate training of the caregivers and lack of healthcare facilities are the main challenges that surround the future of geriatric psychotherapy in India.
The problem of mental health and the psychiatric problem needs to be tackled with the utmost care and a multidisciplinary approach needs to be followed. Providing a safe community for elders is very much needed in our society, and steps need to be taken to promote physical and mental well-being for the elders of our country.
“Each time you set a healthy boundary, you say “yes” to more freedom”- Nancy Levin