The Importance of Mental Health Awareness in Older Adults

The Importance of Mental Health Awareness in Older Adults

old aged

Although mental health problems can arise at any stage of life, growing older is a significant risk factor for mental illness. Many older adults volunteer and work in society in addition to being connected to members of their families and communities. While the majority are healthy, many are vulnerable to mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.

Issues the Elderly Generation Faces
Factors affecting mental wellbeing

There exist numerous components that either indirectly or once in a while directly affect the mental well-being of older adults. They are recorded underneath:

  • Retirement.
  • Issues with housing.
  • Money-related issues.
  • A shift within the capacity to make choices or carry out everyday tasks
  • Overseeing and adjusting to chronic ailment
  • Grief and loss
  • Adjusting to the stresses of maturing, such as changing obligations and marital/family struggle Children living away in abroad
  • Behavioral wellbeing issues like inconvenience and a sleeping disorder
  • Mental wellbeing issues like sadness and/or uneasiness
  • Dementia and related changes in behavior and way of life
Challenges Faced in India
  • The majority of elderly people reside in rural areas and may have low levels of education; as a result, they have higher rates of dementia association and are more likely to be female.
  • In many cases, physical symptoms may be the main complaint, masking psychological issues underneath the surface of physical complaints. Most patients refuse to acknowledge they have mental health issues and are hesitant to get treatment.
  • When it comes to neuropsychiatric disorders in adults over 60, dementia is the most prevalent condition after depression.
  • Of the 28 million elderly people, particularly in urban areas, only 2.67 million currently receive benefits from the government pension scheme.
  • A sizable portion (30%) of senior citizens live in poverty.
  • Adversity is exacerbated by a lack of clinical interventions and diagnostic standards.
  • It was discovered that 25.4% of senior citizens who were 60 to 64 years old regularly drank alcohol.
  • A common medical and psychiatric complication among elderly patients is delirium.
Abuse of Aged Population

According to recent studies, one in ten elderly persons report having experienced elder abuse. It’s crucial to pay close attention to the significant and intricate intersection between elder abuse and mental health. Research indicates that a high prevalence of anxiety and depression among victims of elder abuse leads to social isolation, which raises the risk of suicide and causes emotional devastation.

The Prevalence of Mental Health Problems

About 14% of adults 60 years of age and older suffer from a mental illness. These illnesses are responsible for 10.6% of all disabilities among older adults (measured in disability adjusted life years, or DALYs), according to the Global Health Estimates (GHE) 2019.
Older adults most frequently experience two mental health issues: depression and anxiety. Globally, people 60 years of age or older account for nearly 25% of suicide deaths (27.2%), according to GHE 2019.
The two main risk factors for mental health issues in later life are social isolation and loneliness. Abuse of older adults, often by their own carers, affects one in six of them.

Signs of Mental Ailments in Senior Citizens:
  • Determined pain, headaches, or digestive issues
  • Abuse of drugs or liquor
  • Dejection or despair
  • Endeavoring or having contemplations of suicide, or both
  • Locks in in unsafe interests
  • Obsessive contemplations & compulsive behavior
  • Behaviors that interfere with one’s capacity to operate in social, familial, or proficient settings
  • Watching, seeing, and encountering things that are not obvious, capable of being heard, or felt by others;
  • Behaving or thinking in a way that shows consideration for others.
  • Perceivable shifts in disposition, vigor, or hunger
  • Feeling unfulfilled or battling to experience happy sentiments
  • Excessive resting or incapable to fall asleep
  • Having inconvenience focusing, being restless, or feeling tense
  • Stress or push levels rising
  • Outrage, anxiety, or hostility
Need for Geriatric Psychological Services
Lack of necessary care

The need for mental health professionals with elder care experience will grow along with the population of the elderly. Studies show that more than two thirds of elderly people with mental illnesses do not receive the necessary care. This problem is especially severe for underprivileged and rural populations, including the impoverished and some racial and ethnic groupings. Studies show that most older people who experience depression want to be treated. When given the choice between antidepressant medication and psychological therapy, older people typically opt for psychological services. Elderly people say they feel safer receiving mental health treatments from qualified mental health professionals.

High prevalence of depression

According to a study results, India has the highest prevalence of depression among older adults (per hundred population) at 27.4, followed by Mexico at 23.7 and Russia at 15.6. Compared to older male adults, female adults experienced higher rates of depression. In Ghana, Mexico, and Russia, older adults who lived in rural areas experienced lower rates of depression than older adults who lived in urban areas. Depression in older adults has been found to be significantly influenced by lower wealth and lower educational attainment. The study also demonstrated a positive correlation between depressive symptoms and any other morbidity.

Major life transition

People may go through life transitions as they get older, such as dealing with a serious illness or losing a loved one, that have an effect on their mental health. While a lot of people cope with these changes in their lives, some may feel depressed, lonely, or socially isolated. Persistently experiencing these emotions can result in mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.

Inadequate treatment for symptom

Older adults with depression receive inadequate treatment because they frequently have several comorbid medical and psychological issues. Subsyndromal depression, or depression that sometimes does not fit the criteria for a major depression diagnosis but can progress to major depression if untreated, is more common in older adults.

Risk of early death

In India, geriatric depression is relatively more common, with a median prevalence rate of 21.9%, according to a WHO report that states that patients over 55 who experience depression have a four-fold higher death rate than those who do not.

Stressors that are more common in later life may coexist with the stresses that older adults face. However, this does not imply that issues related to mental health are a typical aspect of aging. Chronic conditions like heart disease and mental health disorders can both be prevented or made worse by leading a healthy lifestyle. These factors make mental health crucial to living a healthy lifestyle and should be a top priority.

Societal Responsibility

In conclusion, every society has a responsibility to support healthy ageing in all of its manifestations. In order to avoid suffering and disabilities, it is critical to identify, diagnose, and treat mental health disorders that are common in older adults as soon as possible. To help older adults with mental illnesses attain and sustain the highest level of functioning and wellbeing, caregiving requires sensitivity as well as observational, relational, and caring skills. Everywhere they work, those who provide care for the elderly should always be supported and shielded from harm. In primary care, all of these interventions can be implemented effectively. When combined, all of these activities can undoubtedly improve the mental health of the elderly population.

Some books, which gives positivity to old age peoples:

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