Why physical and mental health is vital in older populations

importance of mental health

If you’re enrolled in an aged care course, you know that the elderly need to be supported in various ways.

Older adults’ physical and mental health should be a priority, and this doesn’t just happen through regular caring tasks.

As such, the elderly’s mental needs are just as important as their physical ones. 

Skills First Funding

Skills FIrst Funding is a Victorian government initiative designed to attract prospects to industries in need of more workers – aged care being one of them.

This means you might be able to study government funded aged care courses for free in Victoria, provided you meet specific eligibility criteria. 

Academia is a tertiary institution that offers a range of government funded courses in Melbourne, and today, we take a closer look at older people’s physical and mental health and why it’s so essential in aged care settings.

Why is mental health important for the elderly?

Mental health is something that often gets overlooked in older populations. 

Typically, mental health organisations focus on young people’s mental health, during perhaps some of their most influential years.

Still, mental illness in older populations is significant and shouldn’t be ignored, especially by aged care workers.

According to Beyond Blue, between 10-15% of older people experience depression and anxiety in Australia at any one time.

But older residents living in an aged care facility are thought to have a higher chance of experiencing mental illness – up to 35%.

This is because of several factors, including:

  • Feeling like they don’t have the same opportunities as they once had
  • Having a lack of support from their family
  • Suffering from an illness that restricts them
  • Financial stress
  • Feeling socially isolated
  • Being in an unfamiliar environment
  • A lack of independence
  • Physical fragility
  • Grieving the loss of friends or family

Why mental health issues are not addressed with the elderly

Did you know that ¼ of older Australians live in poverty?

The general population may feel as though older people have lived their lives, so therefore there’s no reason to focus on their mental health, but this naivety can exacerbate older people’s mental health even more. 

People often take advantage of vulnerable people.

Therefore, older people can be taken for granted in certain scenarios and subsequently experience elder abuse. 

It is estimated that older people do volunteer and unpaid work that amounts to 74.5 billion dollars of labour a year.

Why is physical activity important for the elderly?

Exercise and daily physical movement increases dopamine – the happy hormone in the body. This is the body’s positive response for doing something good.

Therefore, physical activity can decrease the chances of suffering from depression.

In an aged care setting, if you organise routine physical exercise, residents come together collectively in the same place at the same time.

This has a double advantage, creating not only a physical activity, but a social one, too.

Having this routine can also help older people with their memory, and can also make them feel more secure knowing they have a schedule as well as planned times for activities that they can follow.

A more obvious reason why physical activity is so important in the elderly is that exercising is healthy!

Gentle, frequent exercise or physical activities improve cognitive function and can lower the risk of falls.

How can I become an aged care worker?

Help the elderly spring to life by studying to work in an aged care setting!

Academia offers aged care courses online that provide a blended learning environment of both online and on-campus learning. Our aged care courses also include a mandatory placement period, which Academia will help organise for you. This is your opportunity to put your newly acquired knowledge into practice!

Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing, Home, and Community) – CHC33015

The Cert III Aged Care in Melbourne teaches you the basics of how to care for and cater to older people.

The Certificate III helps you to learn how to take on various roles, such as a:

  • Home care worker
  • Personal care assistant
  • Community support worker
  • Respite care worker

You will also learn how to: provide support for people who have types of dementia, support residents’ families, and comply with health and safety regulations.

Certificate IV in Ageing Support – CHC43015

The Certificate IV in Ageing Support is a continuation of the Certificate III, which helps you grow and understand what it means to work within a range of care facilities, including aged care, retirement villages, or hospitals.

The Certificate IV helps you to study how to implement accident prevention strategies and recognise healthy body systems.

Want more information? Contact Academia in Melbourne today – we’d love to chat!

Academia offers a range of Government subsidised online courses, including aged care, to encourage you to learn and grow as a student and as someone passionate about helping people in the community.

Contact Academia today for a chat: