Study: A Senior’s Mental Health Impacts Physical Well-Being

As a society, we are beginning to open up more about the significance of mental health and how important it is to assist those suffering from the likes of anxiety, depression and other such emotional issues. Like many diseases, unfortunately, mental illness does not discriminate based on age.

In a recent survey conducted by the Commonwealth Fund, 14% of Canadian seniors polled said that they had experienced depression, anxiety, or other mental health problems over the past two years. In other Commonwealth Fund countries (Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States), the average was 12%.

What’s more, one in five Canadian seniors admitted to having difficulty coping with the aforementioned emotional matters.

While that number may appear slight to some, the toll poor mental health has on a senior citizen’s physical state can’t be trivialized.

Senior - Mental Health

“We know that social isolation is associated with higher levels of depression and suicide, so a senior’s social network is important to their health and well-being. It helps them to stay active and eat better,” commented Tracy Johnson, Director of Health System Analysis and Emerging Issues of the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

Continued Johnson: “These are important things for seniors because 94% of seniors in Canada who experience anxiety, depression and other mental health problems also have chronic physical conditions.”

The Commonwealth Fund describes itself as an organization’s that’s mission “is to promote a high-performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society’s most vulnerable…”

-Adam Grant

On a recent episode of “theZoomer,” our roundtable of experts gathered to discuss the growing issue of social isolation among seniors. You can watch this episode below.