the changes of aging can sometimes lead to depression, but there are effective ways to prevent and treat depression later in life. late-life events such as chronic and debilitating medical disorders, loss of friends and loved ones, and the inability to take part in once-cherished activities can take a heavy toll on an aging person’s emotional well-being. an older adult may also sense a loss of control over his or her life due to failing eyesight, hearing loss, and other physical changes, as well as external pressures such as limited financial resources. another, more serious outcome is chronic depression, or depression that is recurring and persistent. recent studies suggest that lower concentrations of folate in the blood and nervous system may contribute to depression, mental impairment, and dementia.
researchers also suspect that there may be a link between the onset of late-life depression and alzheimer’s disease. the mortality rate for elderly men and women suffering from both depression and feelings of loneliness is higher than for those who report satisfaction with their lives. in addition, the feelings of hopelessness and isolation that often spur thoughts of suicide are more prevalent among older adults, especially those with disabilities or confined to nursing homes. depression can lead to eating habits that result in obesity or, conversely, can cause a significant loss of appetite and diminished energy levels, sometimes resulting in a condition known as geriatric anorexia. while aging is an inevitable part of life, depression need not be part of it.
mental health and physical health are a two-way street. these events can affect the mental health of older adults in different ways. mental health in older adults often slips under the radar because it’s unidentified or unnoticed. access to mental health care and the stigma surrounding it can also create barriers for older adults who need treatment. from 2015 to 2050, the number of people aged 60 and up is expected to double. depression and dementia are the most common, affecting 5% to 7% of the population over 60. anxiety follows as a close second, with the world health organization (who) reporting that it affects 3.8% of older adults. the mental health needs of older adults are unique. they’ve been linked to these physical illnesses and conditions: loneliness and social isolation might sound similar, but they’re not necessarily the same. humans are a social species. not connecting to others or losing a sense of community can change our sense of the world around us and negatively impact our mental health.
it’s important to remember that struggling with basic tasks isn’t always a sign of getting older or the life changes that accompany aging. if you’re concerned about the mental health of a loved one, watch for these signs to see if anything is out of the ordinary: are you concerned about a loved one, or suspect their mental health might be changing for the worse? take initiative and ask your loved ones how they’re feeling. ask if there is anything they’re feeling anxious or sad about. often, people need a listening ear, and this is still true as we get older. if your friend or family member takes medication and is showing signs of fatigue, ask a pharmacist if their medication could be the cause. a geriatric pharmacist specializes in medication for people over 60. they might have information that can help. ask a doctor. they know their medical history and the medications they’re on and can recommend tests and specialists to determine the problem. they’re trained to recognize and treat age-related mental illness.
aging & mental health is a peer-reviewed monthly scientific journal published by routledge covering research on the relationship between the aging process and mental health. the editors-in-chief are martin orrell, rebecca allen, and terry lum. explore the current issue of aging & mental health, volume 26, . it is estimated that 20% of people age 55 years or older experience some type of mental health concern (6). the most common conditions include anxiety, severe. mental health problems are not a normal part of aging. while older adults may experience many losses, deep sadness that lingers may signal clinical depression., psychological effects of aging, psychological effects of aging, how to improve mental health in elderly, why mental health issues are not addressed with the elderly, journal of aging and health.
in older adults, depression may be disregarded as frailty, or it may be viewed as an inevitable result of life changes, chronic illness, and disability. these disorders in older people account for 17.4% of years lived with disability (ylds). the most common mental and neurological disorders in there is evidence that some natural body changes associated with aging may increase a person’s risk of experiencing depression. recent studies suggest that, mental health problems in middle age, mental illness in the elderly symptoms, aging mental health abbreviation, why is geriatric mental health important?.
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