Just a Few Clicks: Maximizing Online Mental Health Help for Seniors in Assisted Living

Contributed by: Jane Sandwood

This following article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.

Around 20-40% of Americans over 65 have one or more mental health conditions, according to the National Academy of Medicine. Even if you have mental health concerns, it should not stop you from living a healthy and full life in your assisted living community. In fact, if you need additional help, you can simply log on to the web. 

Why Use the Web?
As of 2019, 73% of Americans aged 65 and older make use of the internet on a daily basis, according to the Pew Research Center. You can access the web from a computer, a smartphone, and even a tablet. The web is useful as it serves as your personal gateway to massive amounts of helpful information that can help you further supplement your understanding of mental illness and aging with grace. So how can you maximize online mental health support in your assisted living condition?

Choose Accessible Websites
If you struggle with anxiety, you are not alone. Roughly 10-20% of elderly Americans have some form of anxiety, according to the American Psychiatric Association. To avoid triggering your anxiety, it’s helpful if you choose a website with accessible features. An option to review placed information or orders, easy-to-understand information and no timers are hallmarks of websites with you in mind. If you’re not familiar with any accessible websites, you can ask your primary caregiver or even friends and loved ones for recommendations. You can also seek suggestions from your medical practitioner.

Seeking An Online Mental Health Professional
Depending on the sort of assisted home community you’re in, you may actually have an in-house therapist available. There are also mental health professionals that offer web-based cognitive behavioral therapy. Imagine a therapist that you don’t actually have to travel to see. Instead, you can simply log into the web, sign up for a service, and get therapy right then and there. Websites like Breakthrough, TalkSpace, Better Help, and so many others give you a chance to talk to a licensed professional so you can talk about your concerns in the comfort of your own home. If you’re not certain of their validity, you can ask the staff in your community to verify them for you.

Engage with Relatable Community Users
Seniors, especially those whose spouses have died, tend to feel isolated from their community. While living in an assisted living home can help, forming friendships can still be challenging. This is especially true for those wrestling with depression or social anxiety. Going online or signing up for a group that focuses on mental health support and discussions can give you a chance to engage with a community who know exactly what you’re going through.

The advent of the internet has made it possible for seniors like yourself to explore a new world. You can benefit from the wealth of information, accessible professionals, and relatable communities that found their home online. Take time to talk to the administration of your assisted living home to gleam what sites or apps they may recommend that you use. Doing that ensures that you get to explore the concept of mental health in an understanding and safe way.