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Aging and Mental Health: What to Look For 

Mental Health and Aging in Seniors. Older lady looking off into the distance.

Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are not a normal part of aging. If left untreated, they can begin to affect an older adult’s physical health. At Baptist Health, we offer behavioral health services and geriatric specialists that can assist in healthy aging.

Below are potential symptoms of mental illness to watch for in someone you love in their senior years.

Signs of Mental Health Decline in Seniors

A person with a mental illness will display signs of mental struggle, which may include:

·      Memory loss, short-term memory problems

·      Difficulty concentrating

·      Feeling confused or disoriented

·      Difficulty working with numbers or taking care of financial matters

Emotional Issues

As the brain struggles to cope with a mental illness, seniors will also experience a range of emotional difficulties, including:

·      Social withdrawal

·      Depression, particularly one that lasts longer than two weeks

·      Unwarranted guilt

·      Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness

·      Suicidal thoughts

·      Loss of interest in favorite activities or hobbies 

Physical Issues or Changes

Mental and physical health are closely connected – when one declines, so does the other. Physical signs of mental illness in the elderly include:

·      Changes in appearance or clothing choices

·      Changes in appetite or mood

·      Unintended weight changes

·      Changes in sleep patterns

·      Ongoing headaches, digestive issues or pain

·      Fatigue or exhaustion

The potential for mental illness may increase as we get older, but with the wide range of senior mental health services available at Baptist Health, treatment options are available to help those struggling with mental illness live a healthier, happier life. Learn more about senior services such as aging and mental health, and if you need help from one of our expert behavioral health specialists, find a clinic near you and request an appointment today.

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