As people grow older, the need for psychological treatment tends to increase. According to the American Psychological Association, roughly 20% of adults 65 and older have signs of a mental disorder. Among the most common mental disorders experienced by older adults are dementia (including Alzheimer’s), depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Many of those who suffer from a mental disorder do not get the treatment they need. Often, this is due to the fact that it is more common for older adults to complain of physical issues rather than mental ones. Because of this, it is important for loved ones to be especially alert to the signs of mental illness and know what resources are available.
Signs of Mental Illness
While some issues like memory problems are a normal part of aging, some mental difficulties may be serious. In addition, there are a number of physical factors that may indicate the presence of a mental disorder. If you notice any of these signs, then your loved one may be experiencing some form of mental illness:
- Depressed mood that lasts beyond two weeks
- Unexplained physical problems, such as fatigue, sleep changes, aches, and so on
- Appetite and weight changes
- Confusion or disorientation
- Difficulty making decisions or concentrating
- Feelings of worthlessness, unfounded guilt, or social withdrawal
- Sudden changes in dress or appearance
- Trouble with daily tasks or chores
- Short-term memory loss
If your loved one exhibits any of these over a long-term period, then psychiatric help may be necessary.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s
Dementia is the most common mental illness that adults over 65 experience. The term “dementia” refers to a variety of disorders that involve memory loss, inability to think clearly, and adverse behavioral changes. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia that can leave an individual totally unable to function on his or her own.
Due to recent research, it is possible for Alzheimer’s to be prevented by heading off risk factors, such as diabetes, obesity, smoking, physical or mental inactivity, depression, hypertension, and so on.
Assistance and Resources
It can be difficult to cope with mental illness, especially with chronic diseases such as depression or Alzheimer’s. In some cases, mental illness can be treated without disrupting your loved one’s lifestyle. Geropsychologists specialize in helping older adults and their families handle mental illness, and they can be a great resource in helping your loved one. In other cases, help with a mental disorder may require more concentrated care.
In the case of Alzheimer’s in particular, assisted care may be the best option. At Senior Care Centers, we offer individual support for each of our residents with innovative programs and high-quality care. Our Alzheimer’s and dementia centers, called Abri Memory Care Center, provide your loved one with a place where he or she can feel at home while providing needed treatment.
In addition to helping with dementia, we work hard to make all of our residents as comfortable as possible, which helps them cope with other types of mental illness, such as depression and anxiety. If your loved one is experiencing mental illness and needs daily assistance, contact Senior Care Centers for quality compassionate service.