Mental health covers many aspects of health, including psychological, emotional, and social health and well-being. Aging adults may not have had issues with mental illnesses in the past, but changes in their lives, social isolation, loss, grief, and even underlying health issues can all contribute to worsening mental health. Mental health services/counseling at home that come to your senior can be helpful, but first, you need to recognize the signs of a problem.
It’s possible that your senior is experiencing differences in her sleep habits as she’s growing older. But if she’s suddenly sleeping a lot more or hardly at all, there could be something else going on. Sometimes sleep disturbances can be a sign of mental health difficulties and addressing those concerns can resolve the sleep issues.
Your elderly family member might also have trouble with mood regulation. This might manifest as irritability or in general moodiness that is more obvious in certain situations. You could also notice that your elderly family member seems to always be down, especially if she tended to have a more positive outlook in the past.
Another common symptom of mental health struggles can be trouble concentrating. Your senior may even worry that this is a sign that she’s experiencing cognitive changes or developing dementia. It can be difficult for her to follow conversations or to remember important things she needed to do.
Pain, Headaches, or Other Physical Signs
Even though mental health issues are not physical issues, your senior may have physical symptoms when she’s experiencing worsening mental health. Pain is a really common experience, especially if your elderly family member already deals with some type of chronic pain. She may also experience digestive issues or a loss of appetite.
Sometimes mental health issues can cause your aging family member to act in ways that are unusual for her, like taking risky behaviors or making dangerous decisions. If some of her actions or choices are concerning to you, they may be happening because of the mental health issues that she’s experiencing.
Rumination is a type of repetitive thinking, usually about a problem or a situation that your elderly family member can’t control. Rumination can often be a symptom of another issue, like depression, anxiety, or stress. Sometimes rumination occurs because of an underlying mental health issue.
If your elderly family member is seeing or hearing things that no one else sees or hears, that could be a hallucination. There are lots of reasons that people can experience hallucinations, and some of them include mental illnesses. It’s important to get to the root cause of what’s causing them if your senior is experiencing hallucinations.
If your elderly family member is homebound for other health reasons, having the ability to access mental health services at home can be a crucial part of getting her the help that she needs. Once she’s got the help that she needs, the symptoms you’ve noticed may resolve on their own.