Warning Signs of Mental Illness in Older Adults

According to the numbers, the proportion of people over 60 is set to increase from 12% to 22% in the next 20 to 30 years across the globe. That’s an astounding 2.1 billion people aged 60 years or over by the year 2050. This begets the need to be aware of the possible mental health issues that are often faced by senior adults.

Mental Illness Statistics

According to a report by the World Health Organization, almost 20% of the adults over the age of 60 years suffer from some form of mental or neurological disorder. The most common problem reported in this age group is depression and dementia. Almost 7% of the world’s older adults suffer from these common disorders.

Another common neurological disorder is Alzheimer’s, with an estimated 5.5 million Americans affected by the disease. There are many reasons for older adults to be affected by mental illnesses, some of which include substance abuse, anxiety, stress, and unhealthy life choices.

Identifying the Signs

Detecting the early warning signs and being educated about mental illnesses in older adults can help care for loved ones in a better and more effective manner.

Here are three major early warning signs that might indicate that your loved ones may be suffering from some form of mental illness.

Memory Loss:

Memory issues are considered to be a natural part of the aging process. This incorrect assumption can often cause mental illnesses to go unrecognized until the disease has progressed significantly. Memory loss problems such as forgetting important dates, misplacing belongings, and asking for the same piece of information repeatedly can be warning signs of mental illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s in older adults.

Becoming Socially Withdrawn:

Another common sign that can indicate a mental illness manifesting among older adults is social withdrawal. If an aging loved one in your life has started to lose interest in things they once used to be excited about or has started avoiding social engagements, it could be an indicator of mental health problems that make these interactions difficult for them.

For example, your nana might blow off the weekly Bingo nights because she’s starting to forget how to play the game. It might be easier for her to avoid the event rather than explain why she can’t remember the rules.

Changes in Personality:

A change in the personality of an aging adult can be anything from a change in regular personal care routine to a change in disposition. Your loved one might stop looking the same because they might be having difficulty maintaining their regular personal care. In other cases, they might go from upbeat to depressed, carefree to anxious, or confident to confused.

These issues might come and go and therefore are often overlooked. It’s important to monitor these changes to identify if there’s something more serious that’s driving the personality changes.

AvantGarde Senior Living and Memory Care has a professional and compassionate staff that’s well-equipped to take care of your senior loved ones that might be developing mental illness as a result of aging. Our senior living community will provide the care your loved one deserves and improve their quality of life through assisted living and memory care facilities.

Contact us at (818) 881-0055 or take a virtual tour of our elder care facilities in Calabasas, CA.

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