Mental Illness in the Elderly
Mental health is often under-identified by healthcare professionals, dismissed as something less serious. This stigma makes those who are afflicted less likely to seek help. This Mental Illness Awareness Week, Agility Health is looking to fight this stigma and remind our patients that we always take every health problem seriously, whether it’s physical or emotional.
Most Common Illnesses in the Elderly
Here are some of the most commonly diagnosed mental illnesses found in the elderly. Keep in mind that your loved one may not display any of these, and mental illnesses appear differently in every person.
Depression affects a lot of people, but the elderly are some of the most at-risk for new diagnoses. Depression manifests as loss of happiness from once-enjoyed activities, impairing daily functioning. General aging can cause depression, as can drastic lifestyle changes, from moving into a new care facility or losing a loved one due to old age.
Dementia results in deterioration of memory and thinking, ultimately affecting behavior and ability to perform daily activities. Dementia goes beyond the normal memory loss associated with aging, and requires support from trained professionals. Within this category is also Alzheimer’s.
With aging can come worrying, but worrying an excessive or abnormal amount can affect mental health. Anxiety in the elderly can exhibit itself as circular thinking, or revisiting a singular concern repeatedly even after a solution or plan was reached.
Signs and Symptoms of Mental Illness
Detecting mental illness in the elderly can be challenging. Any of these symptoms may be a sign of something bigger, or they may simply be transient feelings. Be sure to contact a certified and trained health professional if you’re worried about one of your loved ones.
Forgetfulness and inability to complete everyday tasks that should be committed to memory are both symptoms of many complex illnesses. Memory issues that seem to be accelerating faster than normal should be quickly addressed in any elderly person.
One of the biggest signs of mental illness is social withdrawal. At any age, interacting with other people is essential for proper mental health. Elderly people may find it easier to withdrawal from social endeavors because of their age, and it’s important to support them in maintaining relationships.
Different from a diagnosis of anxiety is anxious thoughts. Anxious thoughts may be a symptom of anxiety, or may be a symptom of another illness. While we all worry from time to time, a constant flow of anxious thoughts can be overwhelming and debilitating.
It’s necessary to provide extra support to the elderly facing mental illness diagnoses. While detrimental enough on their own, mental illnesses manifest more seriously as physical illnesses in those that are older. Mental ailments may be invisible, but their effects create poorer recovery from illnesses and worsening of physical, chronic medical conditions if left untreated.
Agility’s Role in Mental Health
Agility Health takes pride in offering the best in healthcare, which includes mental health services and support. Here are some of the ways we’re taking an active role in aiding those with mental illnesses, this Mental Illness Awareness Week and every week.
We understand that needs change as someone ages. Different mental states can exist as time passes, and we’re here to provide support whenever necessary. We offer steady and reliable at-home services that come and visit your loved one, alleviating any physical and emotional stress they have in the comfort of their home.
Agility Health offers counseling services as well. Whether long-standing issues or newly found issues that arise from the unpredictability of life situations, we offer guidance through complex emotional issues. Our experienced and certified counselors provide support, achieving peace and understanding for any patient regardless of their needs.
Our team at Agility Health can help coordinate the perfect plan for getting your loved one to and from activities that improve their quality of life. In this, we provide suggestions for residential placement, meal programs, and support groups. All of these allow your loved one to form friendships, meet new people, and socialize.
At Agility Health, we prioritize operating with honesty and integrity. We promise to provide the highest-quality care possible through respect, compassion, and consideration of every need.
Things to Keep in Mind
This Mental Illness Awareness Week, it’s important to remember that you’re never alone. Each year, millions of Americans face the hardships of mental illness, ranging in severity from minor inconveniences to crippling disabilities. Whatever you are facing, Agility Health, your loved ones, and even strangers care deeply about your wellbeing. Don’t ever be afraid to reach out; you are loved.