It can be difficult to differentiate between normal aging behaviors and that of mental illness in seniors. We want to make it easier in determining these factors.
Should Mental Illness Be a Concern?
If you know what symptoms to look out for it can be easier to determine if your loved one has a mental health concern. The numbers of those with mental health are high, but with proper care, it can be handled if a problem arises.
This is one of the most common mental health concerns in seniors. Dementia is a term that describes a variety of symptoms affecting a person’s cognitive functioning, including their ability to think, remember, and reason. It tends to get worse over time, so there are a few key early warning signs.
Clinical depression in the elderly is common. That doesn’t mean it’s normal. Late-life depression affects about 6 million Americans ages 65 and older. But only 10% receive treatment for depression.
Feelings of anxiety can be normal and healthy, or they can indicate an anxiety problem. Anxiety problems in older adults are common and often go unrecognized.
What are the Risk Factors?
There are potential triggers for mental illness in seniors, such as:
- Alcohol or substance abuse
- Change of environment
- Dementia-causing illness
- Illness or loss of a loved one
- Long-term illness
- Medication interactions
- Physical disability
- Poor diet
It is normal for changes to occur with aging, such as forgetfulness. Although, persistent memory loss is something more serious.
Extreme anxiety or long-term depression deal with the same changes. As a caregiver you should always be aware of the following signs, that could give an indication for the persons’ mental health:
- Differences in the way someone dresses or appearance, or having difficulties sustaining the house or garden.
- Difficulties in making decisions, concentrating, symptoms of confusion, or feeling disorientated.
- Losing or gaining weight.
- A depressive state of more than two weeks.
- Suicidal thoughts; feeling helpless, unsuitably guilty, and/or worthless.
- Loss of memory, mostly short-term memory loss.
- Unexplainable physical problems such as feeling constipated and dull pains.
- Social isolation; withdrawing more in social situations due to a lack of interest.
- Having difficulties in dealing with financial situations.
- Unstable sleeping patterns, loss of energy, and unexplainable tiredness.
The Geriatric Mental Health Foundation urges for those who have a loved one who experiences any of the above-described synonyms, to seek help. Your family doctor, counselor, Psychologist, or Geriatric Psychiatrist are always a good place to start. These are professionals who are always willing to help and make you feel like you are not alone.
Together, caregivers, family, friends, and mental-health professionals stand strong in the combined effort to avert mental illness in our loved ones and to get them back on the right track.
Entrust of DeSoto: A Resident-centric Memory Care Community in Dallas, Texas
Entrust of DeSoto is a memory care community that puts resident well-being at the center of everything we do. We know that each person is unique. That’s why we offer a wide range of services and lifestyle options to nourish the body and create community.
We understand the importance of home cooked meals and nutrition for seniors and this attitude is reflected in our dining experience. If you or a loved one live near Dallas, Texas and need assisted living, contact Entrust of DeSoto today to learn about our 24-hour care and find out how we can help.