Seniors experience an increased risk for mental disorders due to the many changes that occur during this stage of life. Your aging loved one may be diagnosed with a mental disorder for the first time or discover one that was once under control now needs further treatment. These five mental disorders are common among aging adults, and it’s important for caregivers to know the signs of a senior who needs help.
Depression can have many causes. For instance, seniors may develop the symptoms of depression due to changing hormones or the loss of a loved one. Those who have experienced depression in the past are more susceptible to having it come back during times of increased stress. Loneliness and other lifestyle issues can also lead to feelings of depression. As a general rule, any senior who feels sad for more than two weeks should talk to a doctor about the symptoms.
Having a companion stop by a few times a week can stave off the loneliness that often leads to depression. For families living in Anchorage, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.
In addition to memory loss, dementia can also cause emotional and behavioral changes that impact quality of life. A senior with dementia may lash out with anger or lapse into periods of apathy. The possibility of dementia should be considered if you notice your loved one has extreme mood swings accompanied by cognitive changes such as difficulty with reasoning.
3. Substance Abuse
Seniors sometimes develop an addiction when they’re experiencing stress. A relapse can also occur in seniors who are in recovery if they experience a major life change such as the loss of a spouse or difficulty with their finances. In many cases, substance abuse begins when a senior has chronic pain and begins to misuse painkillers. Caregivers should watch out for signs of substance abuse, such as finding hidden bottles of alcohol around the house or discovering that a prescription has run out too soon. Seniors who are prone to substance abuse may need to have someone provide them with emotional support throughout the day to keep them sober.
In the senior years, there are several things older adults might worry about. Your loved one may fear receiving a bad health test result or running out of retirement money too soon. A little anxiety is normal during stressful times, but seniors can sometimes develop a major anxiety disorder that needs medical attention. Your loved one’s anxiety may be out of control if it stops him or her from living a full life. For instance, social anxiety increases the risk of isolation, but your loved one can overcome it with therapy and compassionate support.
Mental health issues like anxiety are just some of the challenges that can affect seniors as they age. Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted in-home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help.
5. Bipolar Disorder
The symptoms of bipolar disorder sometimes get confused with other health conditions during the senior years. For instance, the mood swings that happen with this disorder may be mixed up with the symptoms of dementia. Your loved one may need help managing the manic and depressive phases of this disorder while seeking treatment.
Managing mental disorders can make it easier for older adults to continue living at home. Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to an assisted living facility. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading Anchorage elder care agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks. To schedule a complimentary in-home consultation, give us a call at (907) 770-0907.