Caring for Senior Loved Ones: All About Mental Health Issues

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You may not be aware of it, but mental health disorders affect older adults just like the younger generations. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, mental disorders affect approximately 15 percent of the population over the age of sixty.

Through the necessary knowledge and attentive observation, you may care for your senior loved ones and ensure that they receive adequate help for their emotional and mental well-being. Here are a few things you should know.

Mental Health Issues and Aging

Mental health and aging do not have a direct link. In fact, young individuals are more likely than older adults to suffer from mental illnesses.

Regardless, depression, mood disorders, anxiety, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) all afflict seniors who receive home health care or are hospitalized. Some of them also suffer from OCD and hoarding syndrome. To further complicate matters, seniors are also much less inclined to seek treatment, resulting in undetected and untreated problems.

Risk Factors

Because this is the stage of life when people generally encounter many changes, numerous risk factors may lead to mental disorders in senior adults.

These risk factors may be linked to their physical health, such as chronic pain or disease, physical limitations, mobility loss, or a poor diet. Others may be motivated by emotional factors such as not seeing their children as frequently as they would want, feelings of loneliness, isolation, widowhood, or losing a loved one, to name a few. If they live alone, making sure that they have proper home care services can help reduce these factors.

Symptoms of Mental Health Issues

When visiting an elderly relative, it’s critical to keep an eye out for indicators that they require assistance. It’s not unusual to observe these changes in older family members. While dementia and progressive cognitive decline are common, stress, sadness, anxiety, and memory loss, might indicate a more severe problem.

Here are some signs that your senior loved may have a mental health problem:

  • Changes in appearance or dress
  • Sudden weight gain or weight loss
  • Problems with household maintenance
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Anger, agitation, or increased aggressiveness
  • Sleeping too much or difficulty falling asleep
  • Depressed mood lasting longer than two weeks
  • Feelings of worthlessness, inappropriate guilt, helplessness; suicidal thoughts
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Persistent digestive issues, pain, or headaches not explained by other health problems
  • Social withdrawal, or loss of interest in things they used to enjoy
  • Trouble handling finances or working with numbers

Older individuals are prone to report physical symptoms much more than psychiatric concerns, which is why identifying and treating mental illness can be a significant challenge. Many seniors may not even be aware of their own mental health problems. This is why family members should seek expert help if they suspect their senior loved one suffers from mental health issues.

If your loved one is exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, don’t hesitate to seek help. An excellent place to start is with their family doctor or hire home nursing care to look after them.


For the elderly suffering from mental health issues, there is a range of treatments and therapy available. Seniors’ treatment is a collaborative effort, especially if they are unable to care for themselves. Ensure that the older people in your care are given proper treatment as soon as symptoms appear. Along the way, giving love and emotional support will help them achieve the best possible quality of life.

 Perhaps you are looking for someone to look after your elderly loved ones. Gateway Home Health provides home health in Colorado Springs. We offer the highest quality home-based patient care in an atmosphere of respect for human dignity. Our highly trained clinicians and therapists strive to exceed the expectations of our patients, families, caregivers, and physicians. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our services!

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