Older Adult Concerns
Our team has developed a specialty working with older adults and issues associated with aging, including grief and loss, adjustment to functional decline, and social isolation. This population is more likely to report physical symptoms than psychiatric complaints. However, even the normal emotional and physical stresses that go along with aging can be risk factors for mental illnesses, like anxiety and depression.
Some of the risk factors are…
- Change of environment, like moving into assisted living
- Dementia-causing illness (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease)
- Illness or loss of a loved one
- Long-term illness (e.g., cancer or heart disease)
- Medication interactions
- Physical disability
- Physical illnesses that can affect emotion, memory and thought
- Poor diet or malnutrition
What to look for…
- Changes in appearance or dress, or problems maintaining the home or yard.
- Confusion, disorientation, problems with concentration or decision-making.
- Decrease or increase in appetite; changes in weight.
- Depressed mood lasting longer than two weeks.
- Feelings of worthlessness, inappropriate guilt, helplessness; thoughts of suicide.
- Memory loss, especially recent or short-term memory problems.
- Physical problems that can’t otherwise be explained: aches, constipation, etc.
- Social withdrawal; loss of interest in things that used to be enjoyable.
- Trouble handling finances or working with numbers.
- Unexplained fatigue, energy loss or sleep changes.
Don’t hesitate to seek help if your loved one is experiencing any of the symptoms above.