They’re common concerns in older years: fatigue, sleeping problems, lack of appetite. And Atlanta Home Care Partners, providers of personal care Decatur families trust, understands that sometimes they’re written off as just that. Yet for as many as 8 million seniors over age 65, these symptoms are indicative of something significantly more than normal aging – they’re signs of senior mental illness. And only a small percentage are finding the available treatment that could greatly improve their overall total wellbeing.
Mental illness is frequently unnoticed in elders, for a number of reasons. For many, there’s a stigma that comes with admitting to and looking for help for mental and emotional concerns. For other individuals, the assumption is that the common outward indications of senior mental illness and aging go together and really should simply be accepted. And in some cases, mental illness symptoms mimic medication side effects.
Nevertheless, it is essential for family relations to locate health care when they notice some of the following types of behaviors in their senior family members:
- Personality or mood changes
- Changes in interest in formerly enjoyed activities
- Sleeping far too much or not enough
- Changes in eating patterns
- Issues with concentration and memory
Regrettably, only 7 percent of seniors age 65 and over who very likely have some type of mental illness are in fact receiving treatment, according to a report by the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
Dr. Susan W. Lehmann, clinical director of the division of geriatric psychiatry and neuropsychiatry and director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Day Hospital at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine clarifies, “Indeed, compared with younger adults and middle-aged adults, adults over age 65 were much less likely to be asked by their primary care physician if they felt tense or anxious and were much less likely to be referred by their primary care physician for mental health specialty care.”
The good thing is, there are effective treatment plans for mental illness in older seniors. Step one is to talk with the senior’s primary care physician, who can recommend the most effective medication and/or therapeutic choices to consider. Our personal care, Decatur experts will also help by escorting the older adult to medical appointments and counseling sessions, picking up medications and providing reminders, and serving as a caring companion to share in conversations and also to pick up on any changes that will indicate the necessity for further assistance. Contact Atlanta Home Care Partners at (404) 228-0103 to find out more.