Common mental health issues affecting seniors
As one ages, mental health may face a setback. From depression to dementia, there are mild to severe mental health problems impacting seniors. The National Academy of Medicine shows that one in five seniors suffers from a mental health problem. Here’s a look at the common ones.
Depression amongst seniors is pegged at 5% which translates into roughly 6.5 million people who are 65 or older. This is based on figures from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Depression can reflect as varied symptoms in seniors, ranging from slowing down in thinking or speech, irritability, guilt, feelings of worthlessness, insomnia, waking up too early, restless, agitation and so on. Sometimes, depression may not be too obvious but the person may have flat and numbed feelings or physical issues that do not resolve with treatment. At the extreme end, depression can lead to suicide.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 5 million adults over the age of 65 who suffer from dementia in the United States. This is basically a decline in cognitive function and it can come to a stage where a person is unable to perform everyday activities and has severe memory loss as well. The initial signs are confusion, difficulty performing everyday tasks, memory loss, disorientation, or loss of motor function.
These are very common. Many mistakenly feel that older people need less sleep and don’t take much notice if they sleep less. The fact is that that the brain undertakes its maintenance and repair functions that protect cognitive performance at night. Organs and metabolic systems are also repaired then. Therefore, the body needs restorative sleep.
WHO estimates that 3.8% of seniors have an anxiety disorder. They may worry about health issues, about falling and so on. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and various phobias, particularly agoraphobia also affect seniors.