Mental health awareness is important for people of every age. However, it’s especially important to spread awareness about mental health problems in older adults. As we age, we have an increased risk of developing neurological disorders, mental disorders, substance use problems, or other significant health issues, like diabetes and osteoarthritis.
As we get older, it’s possible we may develop several conditions at the same time, so it’s important to know how to prioritize mental health and understand how mental health conditions can manifest in older adults.
Symptoms of Mental Health Disorders in Older Adults
Symptoms of mental health disorders in older adults include:
- Changes in mood or level of energy
- Extreme anger, irritability, or aggressiveness
- Drinking or smoking more frequently
- Feeling a sense of doom, hopelessness, numbness, sadness, and confusion
- Having frequent, bad thoughts and/or memories
- A noticeable change in sleeping or eating habits
Adults, as they get older, experience stressors that can trigger or lead to mental health disorders. For example, older adults may experience chronic pain, reduced mobility, muscle weakness, or other health issues. Retirement, bereavement, or decreased socioeconomic status can also become major stressors in an older adult’s life. These can result in loneliness, isolation, distress, and psychological distress in older adults.
Mental Health Care for Older Adults
Health care providers need to meet the needs of older adults seeking mental health care. This includes developing age-friendly services and surroundings, creating a sustainable policy regarding long-term care and palliative care, and helping prevent age-associated chronic pain, diseases, and disorders.
Some things that may help improve the mental health of older adults include:
- Ensuring security and freedom
- Creating community development and health/social programs
- Providing social support
- Providing adequate housing
- Offering programs to prevent and heal from elder abuse
Other treatments to help with mental disorders in older adults include psychotherapy, brain stimulation therapy, and medications, which play a huge role in treating different mental conditions and disorders. However, choosing the correct treatment plan should be based on the individual’s medical situation and the advice of their doctor.
Here at The Good Shepherd Community, we value the mental health of older adults and provide strategies to help treat and prevent mental disorders in older adults. If you would like to learn more about Good Shepherd’s services, visit our website, check out our blog, or contact us today.