Geriatric people may worry more about encroaching memory loss and replacing knees but mental and emotional health is equally and in some ways, more critical for the overall wellbeing of a person. This is because good physical health is majorly dependent on good mental health. Although loneliness, anxiety and depression are not common among elderly people, they are still highly susceptible to these mental health conditions. Moreover, the timely diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders may go a long way toward ensuring the overall health and wellbeing of a person.
Major Mental Health Issues Affecting the Elderly
While loneliness is a major problem for people across different age groups, it is a major mental health concern for geriatric people. As per recent research, loneliness affects around 48% of all geriatric people in India. The condition is worse in urban areas with nearly 3000 people out of every 5000 individuals feeling lonely.
While social withdrawal, cognitive decline and the lack of a large social circle are often the primary reasons for loneliness among older people, in some cases, depression and anxiety have also been found to incite feelings of abandonment and isolation in geriatric individuals. In such cases, it is necessary to create a strong social support network and consult with a specialist to not only help the person feel more connected with friends and family members but also mitigate the risk of depression.
‘Depression is a normal part of ageing is one of the most common myths associated with ageing. While older people do exhibit social withdrawal and experience loneliness sometimes due to the shrinking of their social circle and inability to actively participate in outdoor activities, they are not always suffering from clinical depression.
However, if the feelings of social isolation and loneliness lead to suicidal tendencies and ignite a strong feeling of worthlessness in them, a doctor should be consulted immediately.
You can find a mental health specialist at Manipal Hospital for depression treatment in Mangalore.
Compared to younger individuals, geriatric people are more vulnerable to anxiety. Moreover, in the elderly, anxiety usually occurs often along with various mental and physical illnesses and with greater intensity. Thus, instead of dismissing and disregarding anxious feelings among the elderly by considering them age-related reactions, it is important to treat them as these feelings can cause further distress and physical illness if left undiagnosed.
Some of the major reasons for anxiety among the elderly are:
Lack of enthusiasm and unwillingness to take part in various activities, such as walking, due to the fear of getting injured
Constant fear about the well-being of their family
Death of a loved one
Fear of abandonment
Excessive fear of diseases
Social isolation and prolonged feelings of loneliness
Unlike loneliness and social withdrawal, which can be expected in geriatric people to some extent, depression and anxiety are usually early warning signs of serious illnesses, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Thus, older people should always consult a doctor if they experience anxiety frequently or go through major depressive episodes often accompanied by suicidal tendencies and feelings of extreme self-worthlessness.
Manipal Hospital is the best mental health hospital in Mangalore and boasts innovations in personalised medicine, brain stimulation, and geriatric mental health. The psychiatrist in Mangalore assists people with substance and behavioural addictions and those with co-existing mental health problems or high-risk pre-conditions. Each patient is approached as a unique individual, focusing on the interplay between mind, body, and spirit.
Manipal Hospitals, Mangalore
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