Over 20% of global older adults aged at least 60 years old have mental health or neurological (related to the nervous system) disorders, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Such health issues may be more challenging for senior citizens than for other age groups.
A brain-imaging test can provide detailed images to help physicians determine the cause of such brain conditions.
Seniors diagnosed with cognitive disorders can use alternative therapies like meditation with repetitive sounds to help improve mental wellness.
Meanwhile, stretching exercises for sciatica may help relieve pain in areas like the back, hips, and legs. Sciatica is a pain in the path of the sciatic nerve.
Please continue reading to discover some common mental health conditions and disorders that senior patients may experience.
It’s quite common for people to experience the “blues” now and then. The Carpenters band sang about gloomy Rainy Days and Mondays (1974). However, if seniors have such emotions for weeks or months, they may be experiencing depression.
Depression is a severe mood disorder. It can affect your daily life. Potential effects include how you think, feel, and act.
Clinical depression isn’t a regular part of aging. In fact, research shows that older adults often experience life satisfaction even if they have more physical problems or illnesses.
Nevertheless, younger people who experience depression may be more likely to experience it as older adults.
Depression is a severe mental health condition. Still, treatments such as medications or counseling may help relieve or reduce depression symptoms.
The symptoms of clinical depression may include:
- Trouble thinking or concentrating
- Feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness
- Loss of interest in everyday activities such as hobbies
- Slowed thinking or body movements
- Lack of energy and tiredness
- Anxiety and restlessness
- Sleep disturbances (for example, insomnia or oversleeping)
- Frustration, irritability, or angry outbursts
- Reduced appetite and weight loss, or weight gain
Elderly patients may experience depression due to factors such as medical conditions or upcoming surgeries.
If you’re a senior citizen that may be clinically depressed, consult a doctor or mental health professional. They can suggest various treatments that may help reduce the symptoms of depression.
Forgetting information from time to time, such as a name, phone number, or the current day is normal. Have you ever forgotten where you put your keys or glasses?
However, sometimes age-related memory loss occurs. You may constantly forget basic facts.
You may also have more severe memory lapses. An example is walking into the kitchen and forgetting why you went there. Such events that occur frequently are often related to aging and memory loss.
As people age, brain changes can affect mental functions like recalling and learning information.
A certain degree of memory issues is normal as people age. That said, severe memory problems are a different situation.
Common Causes of Age-Related Memory Loss
While various factors can cause this effect, here are some of the primary ones:
Less Blood Flows to the Brain
Oxygen and nutrients are crucial for brain function. Meanwhile, older adults may experience decreased blood flow to the brain. This factor may affect your memory and cognitive skills.
The Hippocampus Often Deteriorates With Age
The hippocampus is a complex brain structure significantly related to memory and learning.
Certain Hormones and Proteins in the Brain Decline With Age
These hormones and proteins protect and repair brain cells and stimulate neural growth.
Dementia is a category of symptoms affecting thinking, memory, and social abilities. It affects them severely enough to impact individuals’ daily lives negatively.
The United States’ Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported that 63% of older adults with dementia are at least 80 years old. Here are some of the possible cognitive symptoms of dementia:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty reasoning or problem-solving
- Difficulty with visual or spatial abilities
- Difficulting doing complex tasks
- Difficulty with coordination
- Difficulty organizing and planning
- Difficulty communicating
- Confusion and disorientation
Dementia itself isn’t a specific disease. However, various diseases induce dementia. Memory loss is among the common symptoms of dementia and can be an early sign of the cognitive condition.
Some dementia symptoms are reversible, although it’s dependent on their cause.
In older adults, Alzheimer’s disease is the most frequent cause of progressive dementia in seniors.
It’s common for elderly patients to experience some anxiousness about situations, such as an upcoming surgery.
However, anxiety disorders are a different situation and require the help of mental health professionals.
The American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry (AAGP) reported that anxiety may impact up to 20% of older adults, although it’s often undiagnosed.
Some older adults may experience excessive worrying, nervousness, or fear. Such conditions may cause various physical and mental effects.
Remember that excessive anxiety that affects your daily activities isn’t a part of the normal aging process. Anxiety disorders may affect your ability to function daily.
Some anxiety disorders include:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Specific phobias
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Social phobia
The symptoms of anxiety disorders can vary and are related to specific types of conditions seniors experience. Some of the common symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations
- Muscle tension
- Dizziness or nausea
- Digestion problems
- Irritability or anger
These are among the most common mental health issues older adults may experience. If you suspect you may be experiencing such conditions, consult your doctor or a mental health professional immediately.
- Mental health of older adults
- A Profile of Older Adults with Dementia and their Caregivers Issue Brief
- Age-related memory loss
- Hippocampus in health and disease: An overview
- Depression and older adults
- Depression (major depressive disorder)
- Anxiety in older adults
- Anxiety and Older Adults: Overcoming Worry and Fear