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How Health Care Assistant Training Can Help You Encourage Good Mental Health

How Health Care Assistant Training Can Help You Encourage Good Mental Health

How Health Care Assistant Training Can Help You Encourage Good Mental Health

For those seeking a career that allows them to play a positive and uplifting role in people’s lives, helping them overcome challenges and maintain their quality of life, being an HCA can be an incredibly fulfilling and rewarding career.

HCAs work in a variety of settings, including home care, assisted living, and residential care facilities. Whatever the setting, they play an integral role in health care teams, promoting not only their clients’ physical health, but also their cognitive, emotional, and social well-being.

For many HCAs, playing an active and supportive role in encouraging good mental health in their clients can be one of the most rewarding and positive elements of the job. If you think you might be interested in a career as an HCA, here’s how you can use your health care assistant training to improve and maintain clients’ mental health, and why it’s so important.

Be Mindful of the Challenges Faced by Seniors after Health Care Assistant Training

Between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years of age is expected to nearly double, from 12% to 22%. In Canada, this trend is even more pronounced, with seniors expected to make up an estimated 23% to 25% of the country’s population by 2036. Given this trend, it should come as no surprise that a substantial and growing number of HCAs’ clients are made up of seniors, who face mental health challenges that both overlap and differ from those of younger age groups.

Seniors might experience certain stressors that are specific to their age-group, for example, which can result in isolation, loneliness, or psychological distress. These include reduced mobility, chronic pain, frailty, bereavement, and a drop in socioeconomic status after retiring. Professionals in health care careers would do well to be sensitive to these types of age-specific stressors when supporting senior clients, as they can have a big impact on mental health and wellbeing.

Seniors Can Also be Affected by Depression

In addition to facing stressors specific to their age-group, seniors also face many of the same mental health challenges as other age-groups, including substance use disorders, anxiety, and depression.

Depression affects around 7% of the older population globally, and is often under-diagnosed in primary care settings. In many cases, this is because symptoms co-occur with other problems. This is why it’s important to be mindful of possible mental health challenges faced by senior clients, to listen and communicate openly with them, and to avoid making assumptions about the causes of symptoms.

Support the mental health of your clients after health care assistant training by listening and communicating

There Are a Wide Variety of Factors that Affect Mental Health

There are a number of factors which can affect the mental health of seniors and other individuals receiving support from HCAs. Physical factors like diet, nutrition, and sleep can all have substantial impacts on mental health, and offering clients the support they need to get regular exercise, eat well, and develop sleeping habits can be of great benefit in improving or maintaining mental health. Social factors are important as well, and helping seniors cultivate and maintain meaningful relationships with their family and peers can be an essential component in encouraging good mental health.

Encouraging exercise is a great way to encourage good mental health in seniors

Another critical factor for seniors’ mental health is meaningful participation in decisions about their own care. By letting clients feel heard and communicating with them openly and respectfully about changes to their care after health care assistant training, you can help seniors avoid feelings of frustration and powerlessness, and promote a positive and engaged attitude instead.

Are you ready for a career as a health care assistant?

Contact SE Career College to find out more about our health care assistant program.