Posted on Jun 13, 2018 in Senior Mental Health
With the end of Mental Health Awareness Month, we’d like to wrap up with short guide on identifying signs of mental illness in the elderly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 20% of adults aged 55 or older have experienced a mental health concern. Mental Health is essential to overall physical well being, so it’s important that caregivers and relatives of the elderly are able to identify any signs of mental illness before they become endemic.
Mental Health Problems in the Elderly
The most common symptoms of mental health issues in the elderly are anxiety, cognitive impairment, and depression. Of any age group in America in fact, older males (age 85 or over) have the highest suicide rate of any age group, at a rate of 45 per 100,000 compared to the average rate of 11 per 100,000 for all ages. Older adults that have been diagnosed with depression are associated with higher amounts of doctor visits, emergency room visits, more medication, and higher healthcare costs overall. The CDC conducts an annual survey related to mental health questions and last year published the following statistics.
The statistics indicate that the majority of seniors are getting the adequate support they need in terms of emotional and social support. However, if 10% of seniors are not getting the right treatment, that means more than 5 million seniors could be suffering from a mental illness without a source of support and stability.
As we age, the body tends to accrue some incremental changes that can affect mobility, mental health, and acuity. Forgetfulness is expected, but continual lapses in memory and judgement may warrant further consideration or a visit to the doctor. Here are signs to watch out for that could indicate a host of mental health issues:
None of these signs are guaranteed symptoms of a mental illness. They are simply benchmarks that one could use to potentially become alerted to the onset of mental illness in an elderly person. For example, any of these signs could simply be a person’s character or habit, but the sudden appearance of them in a person who otherwise wouldn’t display these signs is cause for worry. As are the appearance of multiple signs.
If you think a loved one may be displaying early onset signs of a mental illness, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional in the mental health field. There are counselors, geriatric psychiatrists, and family psychologists who could potentially help your loved one get the care they need. You could also seek out an assisted living facility that offers memory care or other specialized services.
These types of services including helping seniors to get dressed, taking care of personal hygiene through cleaning, bathing, and grooming, and helping with daily tasks like walking.
At an assisted living facility seniors will get to experience multiple types of dishes on a daily basis. The menus are often changed on monthly or weekly basis and are especially designed with the nutrition needs of seniors in mind. If you opt for at at-home caregiver, you can give this person a grocery list and have them assist with purchasing and helping to prepare the meals. This gives the senior greater freedom and independence.
Does your senior require the daily taking of medication for a physical or mental health issue? At an assisted living facility, your loved one will be taken care of by staff that can administer the proper dosage of medication on a daily basis, eliminating the need to worry about your senior forgetting to take or misplacing their medication.
Assisted living facilities contain registered nurses who provide medical care, monitor conditions, and help patients restore motor control, speech, and cognitive skills.
At Landmark Senior Living, caregivers can monitor your loved one’s condition and help administer medication, as well as promoting their senior mental health. At these facilities, they will be taken care of in a loving, supportive environment built around the specific needs and challenges they face as a senior.