There are plenty of concerns that come with getting older, especially about your health. As your body ages, health complications can happen more often. Your brain is the most important part of your body and can go through changes and problems just like the rest of your body.
Depression, Anxiety and Dementia are the leading mental health issues that seniors have to deal with and they can all be difficult to diagnose. Early detection and monitoring can make handling and treating any issues much easier. When you start to notice symptoms in yourself or a loved one, it’s never too early to have things checked out by a doctor.
With family and patient support and an effective healthcare outreach programs, seniors and family members can get the help that they need. Mental health is not something that should be ignored or to be ashamed of. Dealing with an illness in the brain should have the same priority as treating the rest of your body. Don’t dismiss even the small things as just a result of aging. If you feel like something is wrong, don’t hesitate to seek help or advice.
Leading Mental Health Issues
- Emotional difficulty dealing with loss or grief
- Loneliness and isolation
- Result of long-term disability or illness
- Short term memory loss
- Comprehension and speech issues
- Delusions and disorientation
- Edginess and restlessness
- Tight chest or short of breath
- Weight loss or gain
- Panic attacks
Risk Factors & Triggers
There are many reasons and causes for depression and anxiety in seniors. The start of dementia has very similar symptoms as well and should be monitored. In some cases, seniors are put into a new environment or circumstance like a retirement home and the change itself can cause depression and anxiety.
Alcohol or drug abuse can be linked to earlier onset of dementia and can make depression and anxiety even worse. Pay attention to the urge to “self-medicate” and try to remember that it is rarely helpful. Alcohol is a depressant itself and can increase your feelings of depression and anxiety.
In cases of illness, long term disability or terminal disease, depression and anxiety are not a surprising trigger. There are even some medications used in pain management that can cause depression. The isolation, fear and worry that suffering from serious illness can result in can be managed with your doctor.
Although these three mental health issues are all individual problems, they share many of the same signs and symptoms. If you recognize yourself or a loved one in some of the symptoms listed below, it may be time to look for further help and advice. If you are struggling, talk to someone close to you and ask them to help you find the right guidance and treatment.
- Change in appearance (grooming)
- Weight changes
- Loss of appetite
- Unable to concentrate
- Loss of short-term memory
- Cognitive issues
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Depressed mood
- Unexplainable aches & pains
- Withdrawn or isolated
- Increased alcohol consumption
- Loss of interest