Mental Health: Older adults are more susceptible to mental health troubles than they might realize.
It’s not because your senior is aging, though. It’s because there are lots of challenges that go along with aging and they need to be addressed in order to help her to improve her mental health.
Her Moods Are Changing Quickly
If your elderly family member’s moods seem to be shifting quickly from one extreme to another, you’re probably not imagining things. It can help to talk to your elderly family member about why she’s experiencing mood changes and if there’s anything that she wants you to do to help her. She may not be able to offer you the insights that you most want, however.
She’s Irritated or Aggressive
It’s not uncommon at all with depression or other mental health issues for your senior to be irritated or even aggressive with you and other people. Your senior may not want to feel that way or to respond that way, but the emotional and mental health issues she’s experiencing may make that impossible for her to change in that moment.
She’s Not Eating Well or Less than Usual
Your elderly family member may also have difficulty with eating. She may not be eating much of anything at all. Or she might be eating only “comfort foods” that have little or no nutritive value. That change in her diet can have an impact on her physical health, too.
She’s Having Trouble Sleeping
Very often people with mental health concerns find that they start to have a great deal of trouble sleeping. Your elderly family member might not be able to get to sleep at all or she might fall asleep at inappropriate times. She could also fall asleep just fine, but then wake up in the middle of the night and be unable to get back to sleep.
She’s Experiencing More Physical Pain
Something that a lot of people don’t realize is that physical symptoms can accompany mental health issues. Your elderly family member might have digestive problems, increases in chronic pain, or other ways that her physical health is affected. It’s important not to write that off as just something in her head, because that downplays what’s going on.
Talking with your senior’s doctor about what she’s experiencing can help to determine a solution for her, especially if the mental health issues she’s facing have a physical cause. It may also help your elderly family member to have assistance from home care providers while she’s managing her mental health concerns.