It is a sad fact of life that around 44% of adults past the age of 55 have experienced some type of mental health issue. What’s worse about the statistic above is that only a fraction of that percentile gets the help that they need. The best way to help them is through early detection. That is what we’ll be discussing today.
Common Mental Health Issues in the Elderly
These can show up in a variety of ways. OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Hoarding, and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) are some of the ways which anxiety chooses to manifest.
A startling number of elders have suffered mild or severe bouts of depression.
The numbers of geriatrics who have experienced dementia are skyrocketing. This is usually accompanied by Alzheimer’s disease.
Signs to look out for
While it can be confusing to differentiate habitual forgetfulness and persistent memory loss, there are other signs and symptoms that anyone can look out for. These are a few of them:
If the elder suddenly become recluse and loses interest in things that held their fascination previously, it’s a good sign that there’s something wrong.
Sudden sleeping habit shifts
Any sudden and extreme changes to sleeping habits are a symptom. For example, if someone who wakes up early has shown to prefer sleeping in and vice versa.
Sudden changes in mannerisms
This can refer to any sudden and odd changes in appearances. For example: mismatched pieces of clothing that truly stands out.
Another example is if someone who used to be meticulous in their surroundings suddenly does not keep up with maintenance.
When a geriatric constantly shows signs of confusion or disorientation that is usually an indicator of an issue. Impaired decision making is also a symptom of mental illness.
Temper flares and aggression
Anger is usually the recourse for someone who does not feel in control of their life and faculties. It is not anything personal. It is another form of a cry for help and must be treated accordingly.
This is actually a very serious symptom. It is when there is a complete halt in self-care. This may refer to refusal to budge from a spot even when addressing personal needs. This symptom requires immediate intervention.
Persistent loss of memory
Elders can understandably get details wrong but will recognize their mistake. However, if the elder shows constant and persistent loss of memory, that is a sign that they need to get checked out immediately.
What to do when you see the signs
If you ever spot any symptoms consistently, it is important to seek help immediately. Consult the elder’s physician for a recommendation for mental health experts. It is crucial to remember that certain mental illnesses are treatable. What helps recovery is early detection.
Get in touch with any Adult Protective Services in your area. You can ask the specialists that work there for help and advice on what medical options are present. Legal action may also be required for severe symptoms.