Mental illness spans all ages and people types. Mental illness within the elderly is an area that often goes unnoticed. The physical health of seniors is given top priority and mental health is just as important to be aware of. Many of our senior citizens experience depression and anxiety, however those around them rarely know it.
If you are over the age of 65, you may not be aware that you are being impacted and showing signs of depression. You want to be strong for your family and friends, but inside you have a never ending sense of worry, you are unable to stop thinking which manifests itself in the inability to fall asleep. You may wake up in the very early hours of the morning or find yourself crying more frequently without knowing why; be sure to talk with your doctor.
Some of the elderly patients in our practice have suffered from depression or anxiety; it was through their children that the provider was alerted. Many seniors believe it is normal to have anxiety or have sleeping issues when they reach their later years. In reality, they are thinking too much and worrying too much. Instead of realizing there are treatments available to them, they try and live with their symptoms.
What are other signs of mental illness in seniors?
Another sign of depression can be mild memory loss. Depression impacts the memory, and losing precious memories is not something seniors have to live with.
Another sign is when the senior in your life no longer does the things they used to enjoy. For example, if your mother has always enjoyed knitting and suddenly stops without replacing it with something else, that may be a symptom of a mental illness.
Dwelling on the past – not being able to stop thinking about a spouse who passed away. Thinking about a child who isn’t in their life or a brother, sister or loved one who is no longer there. Thinking about where they used to live, not being able to enjoy what they’re doing today. All of these are signs of depression – they extend far beyond normal reminiscing.
Reaching your older years doesn’t mean you have to live with depression and anxiety. Mental illness is serious for the young and old. If you have any symptoms mentioned here, talk to your doctor right away. If you believe your parent or a senior in your life is displaying some of the symptoms mentioned in this article, please accompany them to a visit with their provider.
We are proud to serve a large number of seniors at Warner Family Practice, and our love for them is a large part of why we choose to address the issue of senior mental health on our website. Our providers would love the opportunity to support you as you work through what could be a new and confusing phase of life.
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