How to Recognize Mental Health Problems in the Elderly
While many people are aware of the risk of dementia that accompanies aging, non-dementia-related mental illnesses rarely receive the attention they deserve. Anxiety and depression are common problems for elderly people. The symptoms of these conditions often go unnoticed because people attribute them as normal parts of the aging process.
When left untreated, mental illness causes far-reaching side-effects on the mind and body. Staying active and social is still important in senior years, but mental illness prevents people from fully engaging with the world. Make sure you know the difference between normal senior behavior and the warning signs for mental illness.
What to Look For
Your loved one may talk to you about feelings of loneliness, anxiety, or depression, but this does not happen often. Many people don’t realize they are suffering from mental illness and attribute their feelings to normal sadness. But feeling tired, overwhelmed, and stressed on a daily basis is a symptom of something more serious.
Be on the lookout for these symptoms of mental illness:
- Withdrawal from social activity – Has your loved one stopped participating in activities they enjoy? Social activity is important for everyone, particularly seniors. If you notice your loved one has been more reclusive, this could be the sign of something more serious.
- Reduced appetite – It’s not unusual for diet habits to change with age, but everyone still needs their daily nutrition. Skipping meals or eating very little when they do sit down for a meal is another potential symptom of mental illness.
- Irregular sleeping habits – Sleeping more often isn’t unusual in old age, but it’s important to have a regular sleep schedule with plenty of rest at night. Make sure your loved one isn’t waking up several times during the night.
- Decline in hygiene – Depression and anxiety can weigh so heavily on someone’s mind that they may neglect important hygiene routines like showering or brushing teeth. Leaving the house without makeup or wearing shabby clothes are also signs of mental illness.
- Irregular moods – Even people suffering from depression don’t feel sad all the time. Don’t mistake bursts of happiness for mental health. Cycling through highs and lows throughout the day is another warning sign of mental illness.
At Home Healthcare is here to help look after your loved one in the comfort of their own home. Our experienced team knows how to identify the symptoms of late-onset mental illness. They take the steps needed to address these problems and your loved one happy and healthy.
Contact At Home Healthcaretoday at (877) 959-9093 to request care for your loved one.