Mental illness is affecting seniors more than ever with the current social distancing due to COVID-19. It’s time that we address these issues and see if we can do something about it. Let’s get into the top symptoms and risk factors of mental illness that are affecting the elderly.
Age & Mental Illness
Many people have the preconceived notion that mental illness is a natural part of aging, but it’s not. Actually mental illness affects younger adults more than seniors, but seniors are less likely to ask for help. The most common mental health issue among the elderly is dementia. About 5 million adults 65 and older have Alzheimer’s disease — about 10% of seniors, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Depression and mood disorders affect up to 5% of seniors 65 and older living in the community, and up to 13.5% of older adults who receive home healthcare or are hospitalized. Disturbingly, they often go undiagnosed and untreated. Anxiety disorders often go along with depression. They include a range of issues, from hoarding syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder to phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder. Nearly 8% of those older than 65 have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives.
Seniors Facing Risk Factors
Seniors experience stress just like anyone else, but even the most usual emotional and physical stressors that come along aging might be risk factors. Careful attention to the mental health of your aging loved one is even more important now with the continuing outbreak of coronavirus.
Although pandemic-related anxiety and concern affect people of all ages during this period, the elderly may be more vulnerable to mental health disorders. Isolation from COVID-19 due to fears about their increased risk of serious disease will place a toll on mental health for seniors.
Triggers for mental illness can include:
- Alcohol or substance abuse
- Dementia-causing illness
- Illness or loss of a loved one
- Long-term illness
- Chronic pain
- Medication interactions
- Physical disability or loss of mobility
- Physical illnesses that can affect emotion, memory and thought
- Poor diet
Checking Seniors Mental Health
Check if these areas of their life are being attended to properly:
Life tasks and self-care activities
Dressing, preparing meals, or using the phone
Financial safety and driving
Pain or uncomfortable symptoms, hospitalizations, or loss of appetite
Mood and brain health
Feelings of hopelessness, loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy, or isolation
Skipping medications, and worrisome side effects or symptoms related to medications
Fairmont Grand Senior Living Community
Fairmont Grand is a resident centered senior living and memory care facility in Rapid City, SD. Our goal is to create an environment where resident well-being is at the heart of everything we do.
Our wide range of services are designed to meet you or your loved one’s daily needs. We offer restaurant style dining options, a variety of physical activities, and give residents the opportunity to live as independently as possible.