In his statement on World Mental Health Day the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau acknowledged ‘Mental health is health…One in five people in Canada are living with mental illness and one in three people will experience mental illness in their lifetime’. These are perhaps surprising statistics, and this is the very reason why awareness days such as this, for subjects which can sometimes be all too easily brushed aside, are so important.
The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day held this week was that mental health is a universal human right and that all Canadians have equitable access to services, no matter where they live.
It is positive that, perhaps due to recent global events and the subsequent isolation felt by many, the area of mental health has benefitted from significant efforts to encourage more open discussion, increase understanding, and break down stigmas.
At Stiltz, we work with many customers, in Canada and beyond, who seek to regain a sense of control and independence in their home environment because they acknowledge that to lose this either through advancing age, injury or illness can have a hugely detrimental impact on one’s mental health. Here the Stiltz Home Elevators team consider how the above factors, so impactful for seniors, can be supported.
Participation in meaningful activities
There is no single activity that is meaningful to everyone; activities are as individual as we are. Meaningful activities in the context of seniors though, means activities tailored to suit an individual’s needs and preferences that provide emotional, creative, intellectual, or spiritual stimulation. Whether it is cooking a meal with family, gardening, D.I.Y. or a long-held hobby, having support to continue to access the activities that are meaningful to us can stave off mental health problems.
For seniors, to suddenly find that they are treated poorly due to their advancing years or are unable to access activities or events of their choosing can lead to withdrawal and mental health issues. It is crucial that whilst it is hopefully rare, organisations guilty of this are called out and that as individuals we are encouraged to spot incidents of discrimination and offer support to anyone more vulnerable.
A sense of connection is crucial, ultimately as humans we are pack animals so maintaining connections and positive relationships is crucial. As an older person it is easy to feel like by calling busy family members you would be somehow bothersome, but the importance of friends and family to chat to can make all the difference to mood and wellbeing.
It is a positive figure that the poverty rate among Canadian seniors is one of the lowest in the world. Only five percent of Canadians live below Statistics Canada’s low income cut offs. However, if money worries or debt is a concern which is impacting on your mental health then share your worries with someone who could signpost you towards some support.
Be sure that you are looking after yourself, following the advice of your physician, ensuring your living arrangements are safe and secure, not overdoing things alone and so forth. We cannot turn the clock back and relive our thirties, but we can try to adapt our lifestyle and environment to what suits us as a retiree!
Age In Place
When we approach older age, sometimes moving around our homes can become more challenging, and even the stairs can become a bit too much to climb every day. That is why so many seniors in Canada are now looking at making home adaptations to their properties such as investing in a residential elevator from Stiltz which can safely help them move between the floors of their home. This not only reduces the risks of falls but increases independence and enhances one’s lifestyle.