Health of elderly and retirees has always been the focus of the general public. The more intangible facet of emotional health plays an equally important role. Common conditions such as depression, anxiety and dementia run the risk of being overlooked due to lack of awareness. This can lead to the rise of “hidden cases”.
Mental health is not merely the absence of mental conditions. Emotional stability, passion in life, and social life are vital to achieving holistic mental health. The key to maintaining healthy main includes maintaining social life, contribution to the society, financial independent to sustain a retired lifestyle as well as having a positive outlook.
To the elderly, their old ways matter. Drastic changes to routines can have negative impacts mentally. Nothing is better than living in an environment that provides them with a sense of safety and familiarity. Interruptions to routines such as going in and out of hospitals or elderly homes should be kept to a minimum. Professional and affordable homecare can already be found in many developed countries, including Hong Kong. Instead of sending our parents or grandparents to places just to receive care, we should be bringing professional care to their homes where they belong. The silver population deserves to be in the environment they most comfortable with and live the lives they worked so hard for.
(Source: 'Mental Health' column of "Metro Hong Kong" Newspaper, 24th March 2015)