Catching Early Signs of Mental Illness in Seniors

Mental illness is common, although often ignored, among senior citizens. Unlike Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease which are considered physical illnesses, mental illness is less commonly associated with the elderly population, which is why it often goes unnoticed or brushed off.

However, mental illness is a serious matter that could affect your loved one. It’s important to be aware of some early signs of mental illness as a caregiver so that changes can be made to steer your loved one on a path of positivity and good mental health.

Ties to Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Although Dementia is not considered a mental illness, many of these signs associated with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder can also be early indications of Dementia, making it that much more important to take notice of your loved one’s mood changes and behavior.

1. Sad or depressed mood

We all get a little down sometimes, and that’s ok! But if feelings of sadness and depression occur for longer than two weeks, there’s something deeper happening with your loved one that needs to be addressed.

2. Social withdrawal or lack of interest in activities

Have you noticed your loved one turning down more and more invitations? Does your loved one engage in conversation or pull away? Losing interest in normal social activities, staying in the house all the time, and increased periods of sleeping are some of the more clear signs of mental illness.

3. Unexplained tiredness and/or restlessness during the night

Have you ever been so worried about something that you couldn’t sleep through the night? Now imagine feeling that way every single night. If your loved one seems more tired than usual, it could be a sign that they aren’t sleeping at night. Rest is essential to good health, so be sure to bring up sleep issues to your loved one’s doctor as soon as you notice a problem.

4. Extreme irritability or aggression

Does your loved one seem easy to anger? Have there been any heated arguments between you and your loved one lately that seemed to come out of nowhere? When your loved one just isn’t acting like him or herself, this is a sign that something’s wrong. Constantly feeling down and depressed is sure to cause feelings of anger or irritability, so try to be patient.

5. Pacing or immobility

One of the biggest signs of an anxiety disorder is constant pacing or immobility. Anxiety effects everyone differently, so some people may not be able to stop moving while others may not be able to move at all. Either way, something is keeping your loved one from relaxing and getting comfortable.

Contact The Inn at Belden Village

Being surrounded by friendly faces and by people going through a similar stage in life may be just what your loved one needs. With plenty of activities and friendly staff, The Inn at Belden Village is a great home away from home. Contact us today to schedule a free lunch and tour of our facility.