Maintaining good mental health is one of the most challenging aspects of elderly care. According to research, about 20% of adults over the age of 50 tend to experience or deal with mental health issues. Some of the most common mental health issues and concerns amongst the elderly include anxiety, depression, and cognitive impairment. These mental health issues cause mental as well as emotional suffering among the elderly. Additionally, these mental health concerns can also make it difficult for them to manage their physical health conditions and diseases.
Mental health conditions and concerns are severely undiagnosed in seniors, resulting in them going untreated and reducing the quality of life of the elderly. Hence, it is vital for all of us to know how to spot mental illnesses and concerns in the elderly in order to help them with the support and elder care they need to better their life. Here are a few signs to recognize mental health issues in the elderly.
- Social isolation: Social isolation or withdrawal from social activities can be a sign of loneliness, depression, or other mental health issues. As per research, loneliness and social isolation can have profound negative effects on both mental and physical health, particularly for older adults. They are also more prone to loneliness and isolation due to declining health and mobility, smaller social support networks, and the loss of significant loved ones.
- Changes in appetite: A decrease or increase in appetite could be an alarming sign, especially when it comes to older adults. This can also be seen in sudden weight loss or gain amongst the elderly and can be a reflection of underlying mental health problems. One may find an older adult either taking refuge in food or abstaining from food due to depression.
- Disorientation or confusion: Another sign to keep an eye out for amongst the elderly is signs of confusion, disorientation, concentration problems, and problems with decision-making. While most people perceive and assume disorientation or confusion in the elderly to be a sign of dementia, it can also be a sign of major depression or psychosis. With age and declining mental health, older people may find it challenging for themselves to arrive at decisions. This can further worsen their mental health. They may also find it difficult to concentrate for long and feel restless.
- Unexplained fatigue: Unexplained tiredness and fatigue are strong symptoms of declining mental health. It may come from the declining physical capability that comes with aging. Additionally, it can be a result of mental restlessness and overthinking, which can consume a lot of energy and leave them feeling tired and weary. Over time this can lead to fatigue with no motivation for the elderly to perform daily tasks of life.
- Sleep changes: Sleep patterns tend to change as we age. Most people experience that aging causes them to have a harder time falling asleep and that they wake up more often during the night or early in the morning. It may be harder for older adults to fall asleep or they may be spending more total time in bed. Most older adults find their sleep time slightly decreased. They also tend to spend less time in deep sleep. Mental health concerns can be a major factor contributing to erratic sleep patterns. Additionally, long-term insomnia or difficulty sleeping can cause auto accidents, depression, confusion, and other mental health changes.
Other signs of mental health concerns in the elderly include changes in personal hygiene, substance misuse, unexplained physical symptoms like muscle tension and pain, sweating and shaking, digestive upsets, and so on.
While various factors can lead to the depletion of mental health amongst older adults, the good news is that effective treatment is available for mental health conditions in the elderly. Seeking help, treatment, and support through care taker for old age or senior citizen care taker services can effectively improve the symptoms of these mental health concerns as well as impact their overall health and quality of life in a positive way.
Elcare is an elder care service provider dedicated to assisting and improving the quality of care taken for aging parents and grandparents. Elcare focuses on the physical, mental, and emotional wellness of elders through a variety of at-home services like elder care taker or companionship, home attendants for the elderly, home care nursing, physiotherapy services, etc. If your parents are struggling through their old age and you are looking for someone to assist them through their daily activities, know more about our health & wellness advisory, home attendant for elderly and other services. Call us at+91-8045914567.