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Mental health problems

DEMENTIAS

 

Dementia is a complex manifestation with memory, thought and behaviour deteriorations with repercussions on the capacity to perform daily activities. Although dementia is common on elderly it is not part of normal aging.

 

DEPRESSION

It is a mental health disease related with no specific factors. People under this condition experience a deep feeling of sadness and the commitment of their capacities to perform daily activities due to the suffering they fell. May be associated with a physical disease special those who are related with pain and sleep disturbances. 

 

Depression affects 10 -15 % of persons over 65 years old. Symptoms are: sleep disturbance, lack of energy and interest, feeling of guilt and worthlessness, decreased concentration, and loss of appetite.

 

The depression symptoms on adults, with more years, are often neglected and not well treated. They can easily be confused with other common issues in this age-group (isolation and loneliness).

 

 

Determinants of mental health in later life

 

The person’s social differences and material resources have interference on mental health. Each person evaluates in a different way the consequences of these factors on their life experience.

The mental health cycle is influenced by many factors that may be committed with the process of getting older. 

On the figure bellow you can see these interactions and relations with cycle of mental-well-being. 

Getting old also compromises cognitive functions. Sometimes older people forget the importance of the dimensions which interfere in daily activities and in the interpersonal relationships, such as:

ATTENTION: Decrease in vigilance performance (ability to retain attention longer than 45 min). The elderly are more liable to distract (divert) attention by irrelevant information and stimulation. Deficit in attention may affect learning and memory.

LEARNING: The ability to learn and retain new information remains unaltered particularly when mind is stimulated. The ability to solve complex problems decline with age. Hearing and visual deficits related to aging can affect learning.

 

Getting older also introduces several social changes. Some older people can be more sensible to these silence manifestations than others. The most important changes that affect the elderly are: retirement, widowhood, loneliness, role change and multiple losses which means that aging is associated with major physical, psychological and sociological losses as well as a reduced ability to adapt and compensate for stressors.

 

The most common PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEMS, which arise from that, are:

-         Poor adjustments to role changes,

-         Poor adjustment to lifestyle changes

-         Family relationship problems

-         Low self-esteem

-         Anxiety and depression,

-         Aggressive behaviour,

-         Loneliness,

-         Isolation,

-         Problems with sexuality,

-         Elderly abuse,

-         Withdrawing and having a negative attitude towards life in general.

 

 

RECCOMENDATIONS FOR GOOD MENTAL HEALTH FOR THE ELDERLY

  • Be involved on the issues related with the age-group of the elderly.
  • Take part in activities that are planned to the elderly age-category.
  • Maintain social relations and improve relationships between young and older people; the intergenerational solidarity bring earns to all.
  • Be interested by all the learning activities that are helpful to be in contact with others and with the world.
  • Use digital connections in a harmonized approach; it doesn’t replace all interpersonal relationships gains by face to face contact.
  • Be informed about the social issues; keep connected with the previous profession to be up-date about the changes.
  • Attend to scientific and cultural programs of someone interest or related with his/her past career.
  • Be available in the community to teach about the experience, formally or informally.
  • Be available as a volunteer for a cause he/she believe in or were he/she can be helpful.