It’s no secret the U.S. population continues to age. In fact, by 2034, it’s estimated that there will be more adults over the age of 65 than kids under the age of 18 living in America. Since Americans are living longer, it is anticipated that many will need to seek out Senior Therapy for elder mental health services in order to enjoy their best lives. Still, not every senior is keen on the idea of talking to a therapist about their thoughts and concerns on a regular basis.
Let’s uncover some of the popular myths that prevent some seniors from searching for therapists in the first place — and then outline some of the tremendous benefits senior therapy can have on folks in their golden years.
Myths About Seniors and Mental Health
If you’re a senior who’s having second thoughts about whether you could benefit from senior therapy, it might be because your thoughts are governed by any of these popular myths about elder mental health.
Myth #1: Seniors are stuck in their ways and can’t change
Can you really teach an old dog new tricks? It turns out you can. For example, research shows that our emotional intelligence improves as we age. Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you need to continue living the same exact way you’ve been living or thinking the exact same way you’ve been thinking. You absolutely have the ability to change. In fact, the best chapters of your life may very well be ahead of you.
Myth #2: Seniors have no interest in a sex life
Some folks think that seniors lose interest in sex as they get older. While it’s true that seniors might not have the same sex drive they had in their 20s, they absolutely still have an interest in getting it on. Situations involving a long-time sex partner could change with a divorce or the death of a spouse, and working through that change by speaking to a therapist could be extremely helpful.
Myth #3: Quality of life decreases as we age
Just because you’re aging doesn’t mean you have to accept the myth that your quality of life will automatically decrease. In fact, your quality of life can actually improve as you get older (even though you might have a little more joint pain than you’d like). For example, studies suggest that we actually become happier as we age. By talking to a therapist and working through your problems, you can take proactive steps to increase the chances your quality of life improves over time.
Myth #4: Seniors have no interest in senior therapy
While seniors have perhaps been more hesitant to seek out mental health treatment in the past, that’s all changing. In fact, one recent study found that more than 70 percent of seniors wouldn’t hesitate to sit down with a geriatric therapist if they felt like they could benefit from such services. When it boils down to it, you’re never too old to talk to a professional. So, forget what you might’ve heard in the past. Seniors are increasingly working with therapists to become the best versions of themselves.
Benefits of Senior Therapy
Now that you have a better idea about the more pervasive myths surrounding senior mental health care, let’s turn our attention to some of the specific benefits you can expect to experience by aligning with the right therapist.
Improve your mindset
One of the main reasons seniors decide to enlist the help of a therapist is because they’re dealing with issues like depression, anxiety, or general bad moods. When you work with the right therapist, it’s possible to move past these issues by improving your mindset. As a result, you’ll be more optimistic, friendly, and generally happy.
Overcome addiction, insomnia, and other conditions
Just like everyone else, seniors struggle with issues like addiction and insomnia. In fact, studies show that some 5.7 million seniors are battling addiction. At the same time, half of the elder population experiences insomnia at one point in their lives. By engaging with a therapist, you can overcome these issues and live a healthier life.
Strengthen your personal relationships
Let’s face it: Nobody wants to spend their time hanging out with someone who’s in a poor mood all the time. By improving your mindset and overcoming the conditions that are preventing you from reaching your full potential as a human, you’ll become a more enjoyable person to be around. As a result, you’ll be able to spend more time with the folks that matter the most to you, and you can develop stronger personal relationships because of it.
Live a more fulfilling life
Many seniors think that their best days are in the past. But who says that needs to be the case? Talking to a therapist can recharge your proverbial batteries and encourage you to be active and get out more. For example, you might decide to volunteer in the community more often (e.g., at the local library or food bank). You can also volunteer to spend more time with your grandkids or other important children in your life as a free babysitter. If you’re up for the challenge, you might even decide to get involved in town government or join the board of a local nonprofit, which would no doubt benefit from your skills and experience. Whatever you decide, such activities can help you find more meaning in your life.
When Is It Time to Enroll in Senior Therapy?
Since you’re reading these words, you’re probably wondering whether senior therapy is right for you. If you’ve noticed any recent changes in your life — like less energy, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, or suicidal thoughts — you should absolutely reach out to a geriatric therapist. Other warning signs include irritability, stress, restlessness, and engaging in high-risk activities.
No matter what issues are holding you back, you can overcome them when you work with a professional therapist — and make sure your golden years are in fact golden.
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