Between 2015 and 2050 the population of the world’s population over 60 will nearly double (WHO. 2017). As people continue to age, they may begin to face health challenges including mental health struggles.Mental health struggles are very common among seniors, and may include isolation, anxiety disorders, dementia,and psychosis, with others. Many seniors also suffer from sleep and behavioral disorders,cognitive deterioration or confusion states as a result of physical disorders. (PAHO andWHO, 2014.) Some of the most common mental health issues seniors face are dementia, Alzheimers,anxiety, sleep disturbances, and/or mood disturbances.
We can help with:
Although memory decline is common as we age, dementia/Alzheimers is not: “Dementia is a syndrome, usually of a chronic or progressive nature, in which there is deterioration in memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday activities. It mainly affects older people, although it is not a normal part of ageing.” (WHO, 2017)
- Poor judgment/decision making
- Forgetting recent events
- Inability to manage a budget
- Losing track of the date
- Difficulty having conversations or difficulty finding words
- Misplacing items
- Changes in mood or personality
- Withdrawal from social activities
- Other symptoms
Normal Signs of Aging show:
- Sometimes forgetting names or appointments
- Making a bad decision every once in a while
- Missing a monthly payment
- Temporarily forgetting the day
- Losing things from time to time
Depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. This can lead to feelings of sadness and a loss in interest in activities once found enjoyable. This can also be caused by several health conditions including thyroid issues, vitamin deficiencies, brain tumors, etc. (American Psychiatric Association, n.d.) Per the American Psychiatry Association, depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and may include:
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite— weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., inability to sit still, pacing, handwringing) or slowed movements or speech (these actions must be severe enough to be observable by others)
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Symptoms must last at least two weeks and must representa change in your previous level of functioning for a diagnosis of depression.
If you experience thoughts of suicide, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255.
Anxiety is an intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. It can be normal in stressful situations; however, it can be a sign of an underlying cause when it becomes a regular occurance. There are several types of anxiety disorders including separation anxiety, panic disorder, phobia-related disorders,and generalized anxiety disorder (also known as GAD).
Sleep disturbances are defined as a change in sleep patterns that negatively affects one’s health. This can be caused by physical ailments like pain, mental health issues (depression, anxiety), environmental issues (loud neighbors), genetics,medication, etc. Without sleep, your body cannot heal nor function properly. It is very important to keep a normal sleep-wake cycle at any age.
Mood disorders, or changes in mood, is a mental health problem that alters one’s emotional state and can be caused by several factors including sleep, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and others. It can also be caused by an underlying medical condition like a urinary tract infection (UTI). Although it is common for one’s mood to change, with mood disorders these changes can last for several weeks making it difficult for someone to carry on the daily activities of life.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to mental health. It is up to you and your doctor to find the right mix of treatment that works for you. This can include:
- Medication: non-narcotic and/or narcotic
- Medical THC/CBD
- Behavioral therapy
- Family assistance
- And others
If you need assistance getting connected with a mental health specialist or any type of assistance, call us to see how we may be able to get you connected with a resource that works for you.