Se­niors Week

Isis Town and Country - - Opinion -

THIS week is Se­niors Week in Queens­land, a time to celebrate the achieve­ments and con­tri­bu­tions of older peo­ple in our com­mu­nity and an ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­nity for older peo­ple to try new ac­tiv­i­ties. The week is also an im­por­tant re­minder that ev­ery Aus­tralian, re­gard­less of their age, needs to look af­ter their men­tal health. Good men­tal health helps keep peo­ple sat­is­fied, op­ti­mistic and con­trib­utes to their sense of pur­pose and be­long­ing. Get­ting older can bring some un­wel­come changes in peo­ple’s lives, such as chronic ill­ness, losses, pain, side-ef­fects of med­i­ca­tion, so­cial iso­la­tion and lone­li­ness, which may put older peo­ple at higher risk of de­pres­sion or anx­i­ety. But as peo­ple grow older, they don’t have to put up with de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety. – and peo­ple shouldn’t think it “goes with the ter­ri­tory”. Frail older peo­ple, those liv­ing with chronic con­di­tions, and those need­ing a high level of home help, are even more at risk of de­vel­op­ing de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety. Un­for­tu­nately, some peo­ple still view de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety as a weak­ness of char­ac­ter. Many se­niors in par­tic­u­lar don’t know these con­di­tions are com­mon, and if they get the right sup­port and treat­ment, most peo­ple re­cover, re­gard­less of age. If you are feel­ing down and sad, can’t be both­ered par­tic­i­pat­ing in ac­tiv­i­ties you once en­joyed, or you’re hav­ing un­ex­plained aches and pains, these could all be signs of de­pres­sion or anx­i­ety. Be­yond­blue has in­for­ma­tion to help Queens­land se­niors achieve their best men­tal health and ad­vice on how to take ac­tion if they think they may be strug­gling. This in­for­ma­tion in­cludes two book­lets re­leased ear­lier this year de­signed specif­i­cally for older peo­ple and those car­ing for older peo­ple. The first book­let, Con­nec­tions Mat­ter, pro­vides ad­vice for older Aus­tralians on how to con­nect with other peo­ple in their com­mu­nity, to help ward off lone­li­ness and to help pro­tect them­selves against de­vel­op­ing de­pres­sion or anx­i­ety. The sec­ond, What works to pro­mote emo­tional well­be­ing in older peo­ple, iden­ti­fies and rates the best ac­tiv­i­ties for im­prov­ing and pro­tect­ing the men­tal health of older peo­ple. It has been de­signed specif­i­cally for aged care work­ers, but is also help­ful for ev­ery­one who has an older per­son in their lives. Be­yond­blue has also re­cently re­vised our OBE (Over Bloody Eighty!) book­let, a col­lec­tion of in­spir­ing sto­ries and in­sights from a re­mark­able group of older Aus­tralians. I en­cour­age all se­niors to check out these free book­lets (www.be­yond­blue.org.au/ re­sources/for-me/old­er­peo­ple), and to look af­ter their men­tal health. For more in­for­ma­tion about Se­niors Week ac­tiv­i­ties, visit www.co­taqld.org.au/events. GE­ORGIE HAR­MAN CEO Be­yond­blue

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