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What Are The Signs That Indicate Mental Illness In The Elderly?

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A common malady in aged people that we are aware of but still ignore is mental illness. According to the World Health Organization, an approximate 15% of people beyond the age of 60 endure the agony of a mental ailment. Sadly enough, most people get confused between the symptoms of aging and a mental disorder. If you know the early signs of mental illness in elderly people we have listed here, you would probably be able to prevent it from happening to your loved ones.

What Is Mental Illness?

Watch out for early signs of mental illness in your near and dear ones

Mental Illness is a kind of a disorder or a disease that can lead to slight-to-severe disruptions in behavior and thought which results in a person’s inability to cope and deal with simple routines and demands of life. Common illnesses of the mind that can be found in aged adults are dementia, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease. Six million Americans who are beyond the age of 65 are depressed, and figures suggest that almost five million suffer from Alzheimer’s.

Being aware and knowledgeable about the signs can aid in the detection of mental illness before it worsens which the family or caregivers can attend to as soon as possible. The warning signs below will give you an idea about any mental illness that an adult may be affected with.

Memory Problems

Forgetfulness is a common trait of elderly people

Memory problems are often confused as a sign of aging by most people. The problem remains undetected and misunderstood until it worsens. Memory problems can really be a symptom of mental illness viz. dementia and Alzheimer’s in aged people. Memory loss gives out warning signs such as forgetting necessary and important dates, misplacing certain belongings, and inquiring about the same piece of information over and over again within a short span of time.

Lack Of Personal Care

Often, a mentally ill person will fail to stick to the systematic routine of their personal care. A noticeable alteration might point towards the fact that an individual is incapable of clinging on to their regular routine. While this may vary from person to person, some alterations in one’s personal appearance can definitely be a symptom of a mental illness like skipping personal grooming or going about their day without a bath.

Withdrawal From Society

Loneliness is a big reason why people suffer from mental problems

People who are victims of mental illness often distance themselves away from society. If you observe that your close ones are avoiding a social activity or engagement or not much keen on activities that used to excite them once, the reason can be a mental issue. A mental illness can make life difficult for them. The prospect of playing baseball every Sunday might not intrigue them now as they find it cumbersome to remember the rules.

Mood Swings

A change in character often gets tagged along with mental illness like Alzheimer’s and depression. Your close one may have a transition from being carefree to now anxious, from being upbeat and perky to being under severe depression, or from being high on confidence to a state of confusion. If these constant mood swings persist for more than two weeks, a serious cause, in all probability, may be a driving force behind this change in personality.

Give the required support elderly people in your family might need

People often downplay the symptoms of mental illness and fail to acknowledge it in aged adults. Often, seniors are not in the proper frame of mind, and they can feel suicidal, too. The above-mentioned symptoms will make it easier for you to take account of the condition before this fatal illness takes full control. Elderly people are prone to certain risks that must be realized. Don’t let your lack of awareness take your loved ones away from you.

Certain mental illnesses in the elderly can’t be avoided. But one can surely try to prevent the worst from happening. If you are aware of a senior who is displaying any of the above symptoms, try to make them realize and encourage them to take the help of an expert who can play a big hand in diagnosing, treating, and curing mental illness. Many a time, a senior might hesitate, shy away, or be a bit reluctant to reach out for help or speak their minds out. But what is more important is you staying beside them to hold their hands, support, and encourage them.

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