7 Warning Signs of Declining Mental Health in Elderly Loved Ones

With mental health issues on the rise in the United States, people are attempting to regain control of their mental state one therapy session at a time. One group heavily affected by the growing rates of cognitive disabilities and concerns are senior citizens. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states at least 20 percent of citizens over the age of 55 suffer from mental deficits, many of which go untreated due to misdiagnosis and stigmatization.

Seniors are considered high-risk for mental health deficits due to complications regarding chronic illnesses, losing loved-ones, medical side-effects, and decreased mobility. Each condition comes with its own set of complications and difficulties, often resulting in stress, anxiety, and depression. To help your elderly loved one alleviate symptoms of mental distress, listen to their specific needs, build them a balanced routine, and treat declining mental health symptoms immediately.

If you cannot manage and treat mental deficits on your own, try enrolling your loved one in mental health recovery programs and pass the reins to professional caretakers to increase their odds of improved health conditions and quality of life.

Signs of mental decline

Understanding the many warning signs of declining mental health in seniors is critical to treatment and recovery. Luckily, there are numerous methods available to ease discomfort and mitigate negative symptoms.

Social Isolation

One of the first manifestations of elderly mental health decline is isolation. If your loved one has gone from conversational and outgoing to distant and removed, it may be time to assess their cognitive abilities with the help of a trusted physician. Although isolating from family, friends, and cohorts may be a temporary behavioral shift, more often than not, it points to more pressing health concerns, like debilitating mood disorders or cognitive disabilities.

Emotional instability

Angry outbursts, prolonged irritability, and depressive episodes are all symptoms of declining mental health in seniors. Although some emotional variation is healthy and normal, extreme anger, anxiety, or depression should not be taken lightly. Unstable emotional health can lead to physical endangerment and shed light on more severe ailments, like dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Memory loss

There is a common misconception that all elderly folks have bad memory. While this can be accurate for some seniors, memory loss is often an indicator for more significant, pressing problems. Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease are all ailments that decrease cognitive function, specifically memory functions.

Decreased personal care

As your loved one gets older and less mobile, their ability to care for themselves may diminish. Personal care declines are often indicators of mental health issues and behavioral disorders, like depression, anxiety, or deteriorating cognitive diseases. If your senior loved one shows signs of significant capabilities—like a lack of personal hygiene or visible bruising—consider seeking medical advice to diagnose and safely manage disordered symptoms correctly.

Mental confusion

Seniors experiencing declining mental health often encounter jarring bouts of mental confusion that can leave them feeling lost and at risk for injury. Although elders may have moments of memory failure, extreme mental breakdowns can indicate the progression of more severe cognitive disabilities. If your loved one is experiencing delusions, seeing hallucinations, or speaking incoherently, it may be time to talk with a doctor about potential treatments and a diagnosis.

Trouble keeping routine

Often, independent seniors rely on consistent, easy-going schedules to keep busy and motivated. Unfortunately, a common symptom of mental decline is a scattered routine. Confusion at once-simple daily, habitual tasks could be a cause for concern if your loved one has been previously conscious and competent.

Having a firm grasp of the various mental decline symptoms within senior communities is critical when choosing the best plan of action for your loved one. Keep a detailed account of any behavioral shifts, mood irregularities, or drastic changes to appearance to provide your loved one with adequate care and improve their overall health.