When the challenge of ageing prevents people from taking care of themselves, depression can set in. The struggle of dealing with medical conditions and physical limitations means that some elderly people simply can't cope. Their daily household tasks become an unwanted burden. As a result, their diet could suffer and they may not get out as much as they should. All of this can lead to depression, a condition that affects 10-15% of older adults in Australia. However, unlike some medical conditions, depression can be defeated with a little companionship. That's where personal care comes in.
Diet and Depression
Food plays an important role in mental health. According to a research study that was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, eating whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains and fish reduces the risk of depression by one-third. However, meals that include these ingredients can be difficult to prepare.
Elderly people with physical limitations, such as those in wheelchairs, may also struggle to locate these ingredients. As a result, they may turn to processed foods, as these are far easier to locate and prepare. Unfortunately, a poor diet increases the risk of depression, which in turn may cause a person's overall health to deteriorate further. Fortunately, personal care has the solution to this.
Physical challenges, such as a lack of strong teeth or coordination problems, mean that food preparation can be a difficult challenge for some elderly adults. However, a personal carer can help with meal preparation. Whether they simply assist with preparation—carrying out duties like blending nuts and vegetables—or take on the bulk of the preparation, their help will make a huge difference. With a personal care assistant's help, an elderly person can eat healthy meals, meals that promote well-being—not depression.
For an older adult with mobility issues, locating healthy foods in busy supermarkets is a challenge. They may also not know the locations of shops that sell healthier food options. A personal carer can ensure that the person under their care is eating healthy foods that promote mental well-being. They can do this by either shopping with the person in their care or by taking care of food shopping trips on their own. If necessary, a personal care assistant can also teach an elderly adult how to order healthy foods online.
The Outdoors and Mental Well-Being
Just as a care assistant can go shopping for an elderly person, they can also accompany them on walks or trips outdoors. Staying cooped up indoors can be just as damaging to mental health as eating a diet that consists of mostly unhealthy foods. The ability of nature to heal is no secret. But for older adults, taking advantage of that fact might be too much of a challenge.
That is why it is important that adults with physical or mental limitations are given the opportunity to get outside once in a while. It isn't just nature that heals. The sun heals too. A dose of sunshine causes the human body to produce vitamin D. Vitamin D can help to cure depression!
Personal Care Can Cure Depression
While there is medication for depression, as well as therapy, simply having a companion that helps around the house and does the shopping trips can be hugely beneficial for an elderly adult. Not only will their mental health improve as a result, but their physical health may also improve as the human body responds well to positivity.
If you or an elderly relative are struggling to carry out tasks such as cooking and shopping, consider contacting a local care service to hire a personal care assistant. With the right diet and a little companionship, anyone can recover from depression.