According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20% of adults over age 60 deal with some type of mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety disorder, Alzheimer’s, or dementia. Mental illness in this population may be caused by chronic illness or disability, medication interactions, or sudden changes such as losing a spouse or moving to an assisted living facility.
Mental illness in older adults often goes undiagnosed because it is often– mistakenly– considered a normal part of aging. Perhaps because of embarrassment or shame, elders frequently do not report mental health concerns to a healthcare provider. If you’re concerned about a loved one, here are some signs of mental illness to look out for:
A loved one who is normally easy-going may suddenly display angry outbursts for no reason. Seniors suffering from depression may experience unexplained feelings of guilt, sadness, and worthlessness. Mood changes that last longer than two weeks can indicate signs of mental illness.
3. Physical Changes
Major depressive disorder symptoms include difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much. You may notice changes in your loved one’s physical appearance, such as sudden weight loss or weight gain. A senior struggling with mental illness may neglect personal hygiene and lose interest in taking care of the house and yard.
4. Memory Loss
Some memory loss is a normal part of the aging process, but if your older loved one is having difficulty with short-term memory or has recently begun to experience memory loss, consult a healthcare provider for further evaluation may be in order.
5. Cognitive Problems
Other signs of mental illness include difficulty concentrating and making decisions. You may notice your loved one having problems managing finances and working with numbers.
6. Increased Stress
A reasonable level of stress is a normal part of everyday life, but when seniors frequently worry about things and obsess over seemingly small matters, they may have an underlying mental health problem.
Ridgeview Institute offers comprehensivegeriatric psychiatry programs specifically designed to meet the psychological and developmental needs of adults 55 and older who are dealing with drug addiction, manic depression symptoms, major depressive disorder symptoms, and other concerns.