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Older Adults

“Approximately 15% of adults over the age 60 years experience some form of mental disorder (WHO)”

It is commonly and wrongly assumed that mental health problems are natural to the process of ageing. Although old age involves changes to the physical and mental facets of health, the majority of older adults do not develop a mental disorder. However, those who do remain undiagnosed. 

At Mind Plus, geriatric care is dealt with extreme understanding and care. We provide diagnostic assistance along with multidisciplinary interventions to support the mental health needs of older adults

Some common mental disorders affecting old age are-

Depression

Depression in older adults presents with sadness, loneliness, poor sleep and a reduced sense of purpose. Signs and symptoms other than feelings of sadness, may be more prominent which can make it difficult to recognise signs of depression in the elderly as compared to younger people. Individuals may find it hard to relax, feel grumpy or irritable, neglect personal care e.g. forget to take medicines, do not enjoy things that they would usually do, lack concentration on simple tasks and may even complain of physical pain. These symptoms are often mistaken as signs of ageing, however, any delay in getting help for depression shall only impede their health and daily functioning over time.

Symptoms to look out for –

  • Persistently feeling tired
  • Changes in sleeping patterns and appetite
  • Loss if interest in life or things that the person would otherwise be interested in
  • Challenges in remembering and concentrating
  • Consistent feelings of sadness
  • Experiencing apathy
  • Frequent crying
  • Physical pains without any known cause
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Neglecting personal care

Do you know someone who might be experiencing some of these symptoms? Extend a helping hand and encourage them to get a consultation with a medical professional. Depression is a serious disorder but is also treatable with the help of medications, counselling and psychotherapy, where the latter is aimed at processing difficult emotions and coping with stressful situations.

Psychosis

Psychosis is an impaired sense of reality where an individual may see or hear things that are not present, have false beliefs about self or have difficulty in sustaining conversations due to thought disorder. Cognitive impairment, social isolation, sensory impairment are some of the major risk factors for developing psychosis among older adults. Psychotic symptoms are often associated with conditions like schizophrenia, mood disorders, dementia, delirium, chronic medical conditions.

Do you know someone who may be experiencing-

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions eg suspicious of others, false sense of physical illness
  • Disorganised speech
  • Incoherent thoughts
  • Persistent anxiety, restlessness and agitation
  • Marked forgetfulness and difficulty in remembering
  • Extreme changes in mood
  • Physical pains for no obvious reason

As with most medical conditions, if psychotic symptoms remain untreated, they can affect an individual’s overall living condition. Timely diagnosis with the help of a cohesive geraitric assessment is necessary to manage the condition effectively. Medication is a go-to pathway of treatment and it is can suitably complimented by appropriate therapeutic interventions eg. psychotherapy.

Dementia

Dementia is a condition that impacts memory, behaviour and thinking that affect daily functioning. When certain parts of the brain get weakened patients experience memory loss, frequent changes in mood, seem to be ‘getting lost’ while talking or moving around and other behavioural difficulties. They may struggle to tend to their daily activities, and need assistance from carers.

Most of these symptoms can be wrongfully ignored as a normal part of ageing. Although there is no cure for Dementia at large, getting an early diagnosis can be extremely helpful to slow down further brain damage and maintain mental abilities. Alzheimer’s, Vascular Dementia, Dementia with Lewy Bodies are commonly diagnosed forms of Dementia.

Alzheimers

Alzheimers is a neuro-degenerative disease, which essentially means the loss/damage of brain cells. The brain is the most complex part of the human body. When any part loses its ability to perform to its optimal level, it reflects in our functioning. Alzheimers is commonly associated with cognitive symptoms. Individuals may experience memory loss, problems in sustaining conversations, inefficiency in completing otherwise regular tasks, changes in mood or personality, and poor judgement. 

Common symptoms of Dementia include-

  • Forgetfulness
  • Becoming lost in familiar places
  • Frequent disorientation while working or communicating
  • Irritability or restlessness which may even escalate to aggression for no obvious reason
  • Experiencing anxiety and loneliness
  • Forgetting recent events or names of family/friends
  • Experiencing behaviour changes like wandering or repeated questioning
  • Increased need for self-management and care
  • Problems in keeping track with time and place

Do you know someone who experiences a few of these symptoms? Early diagnosis is key to control and cope with dementia. Assessment usually involves a combination of physical examination, neurological testing, psychiatric evaluation. There are pharmacological and allied therapeutic plans like occupational therapy, multi sensory stimulation, cognitive stimulation therapy, physical exercise which can slow the progression of the condition and improve the prognosis.