It’s difficult to know the difference between normal aging behaviors and that of mental illness in seniors. We provide the facts to differentiate between the two.
Mental Illness Concerns
20% of adults aged 55 or older have had an encounter with a mental illness concern. One in three of these people are seniors and have received no treatment.
The number of seniors with mental illness is high, but with extra concern caregivers can give extra attention to mental health and provide proper care if a problem arises.
The most common mental health concern in seniors is dementia. Around 11% of seniors have Alzheimer’s disease, an estimated 5 million over the age of 65.
Depression is common in seniors and often goes undiagnosed and untreated. A rate of 5% of seniors over the age of 65 are reported to have depression and 10.5% reported having depression during their lifetime.
Anxiety is another main mental health issue in seniors. It embodies a wide range of issues, such as hoarding syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobias, and PTSD. Around 7.6% of seniors have been diagnosed with anxiety during their lifetime.
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 a 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.
- Social isolation; withdrawing more in social situation due to a lack of interest.
- Having difficulties in dealing with financial situations.
- Unstable sleeping patterns and loss of energy
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.
Fairmont Grand Senior Living Community in Rapid City, SD
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.