Most Common Psychological Issues Found in Elderly People
People aged 60 or above create a very important part of the societies all around the world. They are the important part of families, volunteer organizations, and even workforce! But, while most of the elderly lead a happy and healthy life, a significant number of senior suffer from mental issues or fall into a high-risk category of developing mental and neurological disorders. Unfortunately, some will experience more than one condition at the time. Here are the most common psychological issues seniors suffer from which can help you notice early symptoms and start treatment.
Even though many seniors suffer from depression, especially those with other chronic health issues, it often goes undiagnosed. In primary care settings for seniors, depression is one of the conditions that are most often undiagnosed, underdiagnosed and undertreated! Symptoms of depression are easily overlooked since they often co-occur with other age-related problems. However, depression causes great suffering and can reduce the individual’s everyday functions and affect their daily life. For instance, older people with depression usually function on a lower level even when compared with patients that suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure or lung disease which only speaks to its dangers.
Similar to depression, anxiety is another quite common disease that is aimed at the elderly. As a matter of fact, these two mood disorders often go hand in hand—nearly 50% of seniors who suffer from depression also experience anxiety and vice versa. And, just like depression, anxiety is often left undiagnosed, because older people concentrate more on physical problems and tend to neglect psychiatric issues. Among seniors, women are more likely to be diagnosed and treated with anxiety and try to improve their mental health.
Probably the most serious mental health syndrome among elderly is dementia. It’s estimated that more than 50 million people all around the world live with dementia! This chronic syndrome causes memory deterioration, the impairment to thinking, behavior and the ability to lead a healthy and safe life. Even though it mostly affects older people, it’s not a normal part of aging like vision deterioration or hearing loss. The worst thing about dementia is that there is no cure or prevention treatment and people who suffer from it often need around the clock care and support which can be very demanding on their family and friends. Luckily, there are great aged care facilities that offer care to people living with dementia. These facilities allow them to still have active, social and happy lives without any dangers to their health.
One form of dementia that is often found in older people is Parkinson’s disease—it’s the second most common degenerative neurological disorder in seniors just after dementia. It targets the part of the brain that is responsible for movement, but it also affects judgment, memory, and mood as well. Just like with dementia, there are no approved ways to preventing or curing Parkinson’s (mostly because its cause is still a mystery) but a healthy lifestyle, plenty of exercise, good diet and hobbies can delay the symptoms.
Even though alcohol and medication abuse is a worldwide issue, no matter the age and health condition, it’s certainly more likely to be diagnosed with elderly individuals. The main reasons why seniors reach for substances is loss, loneliness, ill health, pain, boredom, and depression. People in retirement have more time to drink too much, while individuals with age-related health issues have more opportunities to get prescription drugs to abuse.
All of these psychological issues in elderly people can significantly reduce their life expectancy and lower their life satisfaction and motivation to take care of their physical health. So, don’t hesitate to go see a psychiatrist or encourage your loved ones to see mental health specialists if you suspect they need help.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Diana Smith is a full-time mom interested in topics related to health and alternative medicine. In her free time, she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.
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