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.
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
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
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,
- 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.
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
- 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
- Be available in the community to teach about the experience, formally
- Be available as a volunteer for a cause he/she believe in or were he/she
can be helpful.