Navigating Mental Health & Aging Parents

When a parent is diagnosed with a mental illness or you suspect they have a mental health condition it’s common to feel unsure of how to approach them to offer support. You may worry you’ll upset them when talking about their condition; however, having an honest conversation often helps them feel better knowing you understand what’s going on and will support them on their journey.

A conversation may begin along the lines of “Mum/Dad, I have noticed you’re not yourself lately, and I’m worried, what is going on, how are you feeling? How can I help?”

Considerations for having a conversation.

  • Choose a time when no one is angry or upset.
  • Understand that it may take more than one conversation for them to open-up, and expect some resistance.
  • If you don’t succeed the first time, try again. Don’t take resistance personally.
  • Ask advice from your General Practitioner for assistance when you suspect your parents might suffer from mental illness

Many seniors are more isolated than ever, activities that kept them well have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. For some this is enough for them to stop all activities completely and cease activities for good.

Physical activity and socialisation is imperative for the elderly. Maintaining physical health cultivates improvements in mood and feelings of wellbeing and helps reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Although the elderly are vulnerable to COVID-19, they are just as vulnerable to feelings of isolation and depression when they are unable to continue the things that bring them joy. Partaking in activities with elderly parents encourages them to continue doing the things that keep them well. Keeping elderly adults active may seem challenging at first but there are many resources and professionals available to help keep your loved one healthy and happy.

Women of today have the role of primary caregiver, they are looking after children and a household, working full or part time, and also caring for aging parents. Despite the rewards that these relationships bring, it could be taking a toll on their overall wellbeing, if women are not making the time for their own needs and desires. If a parent’s care is beyond one’s capability, assisted living or in-home care may seem like difficult options; however, it improves the quality of life for all involved.

Emma McCallum, Crone Queen’s Mind Matters Editorial Expert,  is a Registered Practice Nurse with experience in Asia and Australia helping to facilitate non-invasive treatments for those suffering Mental Illness.