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 between 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 a mental health concern is 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
What are the Symptoms?
With aging comes normal signs of aging, but there are certain symptoms that can be more worrisome. It’s important to look out for these symptoms for indications of a lack of 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 situation due to a lack of interest.
- Having difficulties in dealing with financial situations.
- Unstable sleeping patterns, loss of energy and unexplainable tiredness.
If any of these symptoms are being experienced by your loved one, it’s important to seek out help. You 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.
The Victorian Assisted Living and Retirement Community
The Victorian is an assisted living and retirement community that makes living independently, while at the same time feeling safe and secure, a reality. We strive to provide the best quality of life for all residents including those suffering from loneliness and depression.
We offer a comprehensive activity program that includes both physical and social activities to encourage emotional well-being. Our staff is trained to assist those with depression. If you or a loved one are considering assisted living, contact The Victorian today to learn more about our services or tour our community.