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4 Mental Health Conditions That Are Common in Seniors

By Debbie Nunn, 9:00 am on

Though most people think about physical health matters when they consider issues seniors face, mental health disorders are also a concern among seniors. They tend to develop because certain functions in the brain gradually get damaged as people age. In many cases, mental health disorders are treatable, but overcoming them relies on getting a proper diagnosis and seeking help. Here are four types of mental illnesses you should keep an eye out for in your senior loved one.

1. Dementia

The most common mental health condition among seniors is dementia, which is a type of mental impairment caused by certain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Seniors with dementia face difficulty with a wide range of cognitive functions, including memory, logical thinking, problem solving, and self-control. Dementia is particularly challenging because it tends to be progressive. Over time, seniors with dementia gradually lose more of their mental capability. 

Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia home care. Clarksville families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life.

2. Depressive Disorder

For a long time, doctors assumed seniors were just more at risk for depression because they often experience traumatic life events such as losing a spouse or no longer being employed. However, it turns out that changes to brain structure and chemistry in old age can cause seniors to develop clinical depression. Seniors who have depressive disorder are more likely to report physical symptoms, such as insomnia, fatigue, headaches, and stomach pains, instead of saying they feel sad. Fortunately, there are many medications that can restore balance to the brain. 

When seniors develop mental conditions such as clinical depression, it often helps to enlist the assistance of a trained professional caregiver with experience in boosting mental health in seniors. Families looking for top-rated Clarksville home care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

3. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

This mental condition often gets confused with general feelings of anxiousness or occasional panic attacks, but it’s actually far more severe. GAD is fairly similar to obsessive compulsive disorder, but it can develop later in life due to brain chemistry imbalances. Seniors with GAD often have intrusive and constant worries that prevent them from living normally. They frequently have issues with sweating, trembling, and high blood pressure, and they may feel compelled to perform rituals or routines such as turning a switch on and off. It’s also fairly common for GAD in seniors to manifest itself as hoarding.

4. Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia is a mental disorder that essentially results in an overwhelming fear of going to certain places. Most people with this mental problem develop it in their youth, but roughly 7 percent of people over the age of 65 get late-onset agoraphobia. It’s more common in those who have had strokes, suggesting it may be caused by damage to the brain. Seniors with agoraphobia often refuse to leave their homes, and when they’re forced to go, they experience dizziness, a rapid heart rate, chest pain, and the inability to think clearly, which often leads to isolation and social impairment. Agoraphobia treatment typically involves a mixture of therapy and medication.

Family caregivers often focus on the physical day-to-day needs of their senior loved ones, but it’s also important to consider emotional and mental health as part of a senior’s overall wellbeing. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of home care. Clarksville families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. To learn more about our reliable, compassionate in-home care services, contact us at (931) 218-2781 today.

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