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Mental illnesses Among the Elderly– Symptoms to Watch Out For

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Did you know that around 20% of adults aged 55 years and above experience some kind of mental health issue?It is even worse that around 1 in 3 of them don’t get proper treatment to cure or at least treat the illness. You may not be surprised to know that one of the most common mental health problems among seniors is dementia or cognitive impairment. There is a predicted 6 million adults above the age of 65 years who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, which is about 12% of the seniors according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Some of the figures are quite depressing.

Mood disorders and depression are widespread among elderly adults and it is indeed saddening to know that most of these go untreated. In fact, according to reports from the CDC, 5% of the seniors who are above 65 years have depression and 11% have been diagnosed with some form of depression at some point of their lives.

Symptoms of mental illness among seniors

As soon as our near and dear ones start aging, it is a natural process that there will be some changes which might occur. One of the most common things is regular forgetfulness and persistent memory loss which gets oftentimes becomes serious. The same is true for long term depression and anxiety. The caregivers should watch out for a few warning signs which prompt health issues. Here are a few such symptoms.

  • Alterations in dress or appearance and issues in maintaining the home
  • Disorientation, confusion and problems with decision making and concentrating
  • Mood of depression lasting for more than 2 weeks
  • A sudden increase or decrease in appetite or huge changes in weight
  • Unnecessary guilt, worthlessness, suicidal thoughts and helplessness
  • Physical issues that aren’t easy to explain like constipation or aches
  • Short term memory problems
  • Loss of interest in things that previously derived pleasure or social withdrawal
  • Fatigue, sleep issues and energy loss
  • Difficulty in working with numbers or handling the finances of the family

In case your loved one is suffering from any of the above listed symptoms, never hesitate to seek help of your family doctor or counselor. You may even consult with a psychologist or a geriatric psychiatrist. There are also online self-help resources like which can guide you on various mental health issues. Whichever way you choose, the ultimate thing is to not suffer alone. When your friends and family put in their combined efforts to cure the mental illness that someone is suffering in the family, this can often cure all woes.

Whenever you’re curious about how you can take care of your elderly family members so that they don’t suffer silently from mental illnesses, keep in mind the above listed options.

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