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3 Common Mental Health Disorders Among the Elderly

3 Common Mental Health Disorders Among the Elderly

Awareness about mental health among the elderly is important and necessary to ensure our loved ones receive proper care. Read on to learn more about 3 mental health disorders that are common among the elderly.

1. Delirium

Delirium is defined as a serious change in mental abilities. 

Symptoms of delirium include:

  1. Reduced awareness of surroundings
  2. Poor thinking skills
  3. Behaviour and emotional change

Some causes of delirium are:

  1. Severe or long term illness
  2. An imbalance in the body, e.g. low sodium
  3. Certain medicines
  4. Infections
  5. Surgery
  6. Alcohol or drug use or withdrawal

The symptoms of delirium can sometimes be confused with symptoms of dementia.

2. Dementia

Dementia is a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think or make decisions that affect daily life.

There are many types of dementia, one of the most common being Alzheimers. 

Generally, symptoms of dementia include having trouble with:

  1. Memory
  2. Attention 
  3. Communication
  4. Reasoning and problem-solving
  5. Visual perception, beyond the usual age-related changes in vision

Dementia is caused when nerve cells and their connections in the brain are damaged or lost. Depending on the underlying cause, dementia can be treatable. While neurodegenerative dementias (like Alzheimers) have no cure, medicine can be used to protect the brain and manage symptoms.

3. Depression

Depression is a serious mood disorder that affects how one feels, acts and thinks. Although common among older adults, it is not considered a normal part of ageing.

Most people with depression get better after treatment like counselling or medicine.

In older adults, symptoms of depression can look like:

  1. Feelings of sadness and despair
  2. Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
  3. Unexplained aches and pains
  4. Loss of interest in socialising or hobbies
  5. Weight loss or loss of appetite
  6. Lack of motivation and energy
  7. Difficulty falling or staying asleep, oversleeping or daytime sleepiness
  8. Loss of self-worth
  9. Slowed movement of speech
  10. Thoughts of suicide
  11. Memory problems
  12. Neglecting personal care

Causes for elderly depression can stem from significant changes in life, such as:

  1. Health problems
  2. Loneliness and isolation
  3. Decreased sense of purpose
  4. Fears (e.g. of death, financial problems, health, etc)
  5. Recent bereavements 

At Medical Assistance4u

Our team of medically trained staff at Medical Assistance4u can provide you with consultation services to assist you in providing good elderly care for your loved ones. 

Chat with us now!

Contact us at 9053 6727 (WhatsApp or call) or email us at [email protected] for more information!

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