Getting older and retirement both involve a change in lifestyle for most people and it is important to take care of yourself mentally as well as physically. The process of retirement and getting old is one of many life transitions people go through in the life cycle.
There is an assumption that mental health problems are a ‘normal’ aspect of ageing but most older people do not develop mental health problems, and they can be helped if they do. While a significant number of people do develop dementia or depression in old age, they are not an inevitable part of getting older.
- Find out how to live a mentally healthier life in later life with our free guide
- Get the statistics on mental health and older people.
Not everyone feels ready to retire at the same time, if work or career is a major part of your life it can affect:
- the social aspect of your life if your job also provided friendships
- your sense of self worth and self esteem if you felt valued at work
- your financial security
However being retired (or semi-retired) can also be a busy phase of life. It can be a chance to try a new activity or learn new skills and do the things that you have always wanted to do but never had the time.
Depression describes a range of moods, from low mood to feeling unable to cope with everyday life. It can affect anyone, of any culture, age or background This is because older people are much more vulnerable to factors that lead to depression, such as:
- being widowed or divorced
- being retired or unemployed
- physical disability or illness
- loneliness and isolation
The neurobiological changes associated with getting older, prescribed medication for other conditions and genetic susceptibility (which increases with age) are also factors. There are a number of rarer mental health problems that affect older people too, including delirium, anxiety and late-onset schizophrenia.
Dementia is a decline in mental ability which affects memory, thinking, problem-solving, concentration and perception. It occurs as a result of the death of brain cells or damage in parts of the brain that deal with our thought processes.
People with dementia can become confused and some also become restless or display repetitive behaviour. They may also seem irritable, tearful or agitated which can be very distressing for both the person with dementia and their family and friends.
- Find out more about dementia whether you’re worried about memory problems or you are trying to help someone with dementia