In 1990, the U.S. Congress named the first week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week. Mental illness doesn’t target a specific age. Elderly adults are just as likely to experience mental illness as a teen or young adult.
For 2021, the goal is to advocate for a parent, child, or friend with mental illness. Take time to learn these facts about mental illness in the elderly so that you can advocate for your mom or dad.
Anxiety Disorders Are a Prevalent Form of Mental Illness
You might not think of anxiety as being a mental illness, but it is. About 19% of the U.S. population has an anxiety disorder, whether social anxiety or generalized anxiety. Your parent could very well have an anxiety disorder and feel ashamed and try to hide it.
How can you tell when your parent is experiencing an anxiety disorder? It can be challenging, but one of the more common signs is avoiding situations that cause anxiety, such as skipping a social event or refusing to go to a public location. Your mom or dad may also experience insomnia, have a hard time concentrating, and experience gastrointestinal issues.
Depression Isn’t a Normal Part of Aging
Depression is another form of mental illness that affects the elderly. While it’s not a normal part of aging, it is something older adults face. Some of the triggers can be the death of a spouse or being diagnosed with a chronic health condition.
Signs of depression include a lack of interest in favorite activities, irritability, appetite changes, and feelings of hopelessness. If your mom or dad is depressed and needs to go on medications, it’s not a sign of failure. Make sure they realize how many people take anti-depressants to ensure they’re not alone.
Around 10 Percent of Older Adults Do No Feel That They Get Enough Support
Do your parents feel like they have a strong support system? One out of ten older adults does not feel that they have the support they need. You can support your parents by listening to them vent, helping them with transportation and housekeeping, or helping them find information for questions or issues they have.
Keep your parents from feeling alone or lonely with regular visits from home care. Not only is their caregiver available to support them throughout the week, but they also have someone helping them remember to take breaks, get outside for fresh air, and take their medications on time.
Talk to an expert in home care to get prices and available services. It’s one way to start helping your mom or dad realize they’re not alone and that they have their family’s full support, even if their kids and grandkids live hours away.