In recent years, there has been growing awareness for mental health issues in our communities. However, many people do not think of seniors as a population that is affected by mental illness. Furthermore, although significant progress has been made in ending the stigma associated with mental illness, for many seniors who grew up in an earlier time, it remains a taboo topic.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 15 percent of adults age 60 and over suffer from a mental disorder. The issue of mental illness is particularly difficult to address, as there are many co-morbidities and concurrent issues that overlap in the typical geriatric patient.
Depression vs Dementia: How Do We Assess? is an article from The Canadian Review of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias that suggests approaches to differential diagnosis between dementia and depression.
There are often multiple factors at play, including the presence of chronic conditions that affect cognition and mood such as dementias/Alzheimer’s, medications (their side effects and interactions), and general cognitive decline. There are also other factors commonly seen in seniors such as limited mobility and social isolation, that can lead to poor mental health.
The Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health provides guidelines on the prevention, assessment, treatment and management of the major mental health issues facing older Canadians.
Another aspect of mental health as it relates to senior care is that of the family caregiver. Though many caregivers report a high level of satisfaction and fulfilment in their role, the demanding nature of their role has negative consequences on both physical and mental health.
Self-Care for Caregivers is a helpful resource that identifies common causes of caregiver stress, the signs to look for and when to get help.
Are you a family caregiver? Let us help alleviate the stress of care. Our qualified and compassionate Caregivers provide companionship and report daily updates on your loved one’s health. Download the Vidal Home Care mobile app or call 1-888-97 VIDAL today.