What Signs Should I Be Looking For?
If you or your loved ones are concerned about changes in your Mental Health, here are a few signs which might indicate a mental struggle related to aging.
1. Are You Noticing Changes in Personal Appearance or in the Home?
A decline in personal grooming or a sudden change in maintaining a clean home or yard may be indicative of mental decline. Sometimes people avoid having visitors to their home or decrease social interactions to hide indicators of deterioration in mental health.
2. Are you Experiencing Confusion or Difficulties Concentrating? Is Desicion Making Becoming Becoming More Difficult?
Some memory loss is common in older adults. However, difficulties concentrating or repeating the same sentences in a day may be a sign of something more significant.
3. Have You Noticed a Decrease in Appetite or Weight Loss?
A person’s weight can be impacted by their mental health. Changes in appetite and eating can be a symptom of depression or anxiety.
4. Has Depression Lasted More Than Two Weeks?
Feeling down or depressed more days than not, or feeling “blue” over an extended period of time may be an indicator of depression
5. Are You Or Your Loved One Experiencing Feelings of Worthlessness and Even Suicidal Thoughts?
Depression and anxiety can have a negative impact on self-esteem and self-worth. Deterioration in physical abilities can be followed by irritability about losing one’s independence and can be accompanied by an attitude of “giving up”.
6. Can you Detect Signs of Memory or Language Loss?
Short term memory can be particularly affected by a deterioration of cognitive functioning or mental health. Signs of being unable to remember daily events, or common words, may be a cause to have a professional evaluation.
7. Do You or Your Family Member Report Unexplainable Physical Problems?
The normal aging process can involve a deterioration in physical abilities. However, a sudden onset of a physical symptom that cannot be explained should require a professional evaluation. Sometimes, older adults will ruminate about their health, aches and pains and bodily functions. This is due, in part, to their world becoming a little smaller and a decrease in daily activities. An increase in complaints about physical problems should be checked out.
8. Are You Noticing You Or Your Loved One Withdrawing from Social Situations?
As friends age and die, and activities become less accessible with age, older adults can make their world even smaller by withdrawing to their homes. Social connections might be harder to maintain, family members may have moved away, community supports could be limited. All of these situations can lead to feelings of loneliness and despair.
9. Are You Noticing Problems with Budgeting and Managing Personal Finances?
A decline in cognitive functioning and problems with memory can lead to difficulties keeping financial records.
10. Are You or Your Loved One Having Sleep Difficulties?
Fatigue, lethargy, and difficulties falling or staying asleep can all be symptoms of a mental health disorder or a decline in functioning.
Link to Alzheimers Association PDF 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimers
If you are concerned about any of the above, you should seek a professional evaluation of the symptoms. This is not meant to be used as a diagnostic tool