Knowing the Signs of Mental Illness in an Aging Loved One

Knowing the Signs of Mental Illness in an Aging Loved One

When it comes to protecting the mental well-being of elderly individuals, it’s imperative to know the signs of mental illness. A person can be in peak physical condition, and still struggling with depression, anxiety, etc. Within the elderly community, this is especially important, as mental illness is so often under-reported within senior citizens. 

Thus, if you are uncertain whether your loved one is living with a mental illness, here are a few signs. 

Weight Loss

If an elderly individual has had a noticeable change in weight, this could reveal a struggle with dementia, depression, etc. This is because a change in weight often correlates with a loss of appetite. 

Those who are living with depression and other mental conditions might have little or no interest in eating food. If they are living without a home health aid, the day-to-day act of preparing, eating, and then cleaning up meals may seem unimportant to them. Thus, if you notice that your loved one seems undernourished, it might be time to intervene!

Social Isolation

If a loved one has decided to forgo all social interaction, this could be more than a sign of ‘needing some alone time.’ Choosing to abstain from engaging in social circles could be a sign that not all is mentally okay. Social isolation is one of the main signs of depression, social anxiety, and even degenerative brain diseases like dementia.

Mood Swings

A clear signifier of mental illness are intense mood swings. If your loved one finds themselves going from extreme to extreme, there might be something amiss in chemistry of their neural composition.

Unexplainable Fatigue

If an aging loved one finds themselves continually tired, sluggish, or unexplainably fatigued, they may be living with a mental illness. It should be noted that this general malaise is not connected to ‘having a bad night’s sleep,’ they are simply tired without provocation or cause.  

Memory Loss

Contrary to popular belief, being forgetful is more than a quirky character trait: it can be a sign of mental illness. If an elderly person has sudden lapses in memory, especially short term memory, they may be living with a mental illness.

Difficulty Handling Finances

A major tenant of mental illness is losing the ability or desire to deal with the day-to-day processes of life. People living with a mental condition can feel as though simple financial tasks – such as paying medical bills or balancing a checkbook – are too overwhelming to tackle. Thus, if you find aging loved one falling behind on their finances, it may be a sign that they need help.

For more information contact a home health care agency, like a home health care agency in Palm Beach County, FL, today.

Thank you to Expicare Nursing Agency for their insight into seniors and knowing the signs of mental illness in an aging loved one.