Brain Health

How Does Aging Affect Mental Health?

Aging is an unavoidable fact of life that has a profound effect on mental health. Just like other illnesses, the risk of mental health issues also increases with age. Mental disorders in the elderly are a major concern.

Rapidly Aging World Population

According to the World Health Organization, many countries are faced with a rapidly aging population. This means that the percentage of older adults is increasing worldwide.

From 2015 to 2050, it is projected that the percentage of senior citizens (individuals over 60 years of age) will jump from 12% to 22%. In other words, the percentage of elderly (or what is considered elderly) people will nearly double. More than one in five people around the world will be over 60 years old by 2050. (1)

The WHO also shed light on the incidence of mental health problems in older adults. About 15 percent of individuals over 60 years of age live with a serious mental health condition.

According to the same source, older adults face a higher incidence of mental health disorders like dementia and depression. About 5% of elderly people suffer from dementia while 7% of senior citizens live with depression.   

Prevalence of Mental Illnesses in the Elderly

3.8% of older adults suffer from some kind of anxiety disorder, while about 1% face substance abuse problems. The trouble with gathering substance abuse statistics for senior citizens is that this problem is often ignored or misunderstood.

It is startling to note that around a quarter of all deaths from self-inflicted harm occur in people over 60 years of age.  

The WHO has also expressed concerns that older adults are reluctant to seek help due to the stigma attached to mental health issues. The incidence of mental health issues may be higher than what is being reported. (2)

Depression

Although older adults face a higher risk of depression, this condition should not be considered a normal part of aging according to the National Institute on Aging. (3)

There may be nothing unusual about being depressed, but feeling this way most of the time is a cause for concern. Anyone who faces depression should seek medical help, including senior citizens. Older persons should never resign themselves to the fact that depression is a normal part of aging.

 Several factors are responsible for increasing the risk of depression in older adults, including isolation, the onset of chronic disease, or the death of a spouse/partner. While many adults come to terms with these devastating incidents, not all of them succeed in doing so.

Common signs of depression among older adults include problems with sleep, irritability, and fatigue. Lack of attention and confusion may appear very similar to symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or another progressive health issue.

Older adults may have to take many medications to control illnesses and some  of these medications may cause depression symptoms.

The following medications may increase symptoms of depression in the elderly: Azmacort, Flovent, Prednisone, Carbidopa, Levodopa, Lioresal, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil, Effexor, Ritalin, Synthroid, and many more. (4)

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most debilitating mental health issues that afflict older adults in particular.

The disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that is incurable at the present time. As the disease progresses, it impairs thinking skills and memory of an individual and eventually renders them incapable of remembering simple things or performing familiar tasks.

Alzheimer’s is often associated with senility since it develops in people who are more than 60 years old. It is believed that over 5 million American adults are living with this condition.  (5)

The following are the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. (6)

  • Problems completing simple tasks
  • Struggling to make a conversation
  • Poor decision-making skills
  • Changes in personality and mood
  • Forgetting things often
  • Not remembering the date, time, and/or season
  • Inability to plan and solve simple problems
  • Difficulty remembering recent events
  • Wandering and sundowning

The National Institute on Aging has made some serious revelations regarding deaths from Alzheimer’s disease. The medical condition was the 6th leading cause of deaths in the elderly. However, new estimates suggest that the disorder’s death toll may be much higher since cases of this disease are often unreported.

According to the latest estimates, Alzheimer’s might be the third leading cause of death among individuals over 60 years of age. (7)

Mental Healthcare for the Elderly

Because older adults are often reluctant to admit that they may have developed mental health conditions, they might not receive the medical care they need. In many cases, seniors fail to understand that they have a mental health crisis on-hand and need help. This is very unfortunate as medical diagnosis may provide the only opportunity of identifying their condition and its severity.

Another major drawback of this is that mental illnesses increase morbidity in seniors who are living with other chronic diseases. Hence, a healthcare provider should pay special attention to mental health in the elderly to prevent such problems from going undiagnosed and untreated since this can have serious consequences for seniors. (8)   

Mental Health Tips

Seniors can engage in the following activities to boost their cognitive health.

Supplements for the Aging Brain

As you approach your “senior” years, you should take the right supplements to support your mental health and cognitive function in particular. The ingredients in a research-backed supplement like Ceremin can lift your mood, curb anxiousness, fight inflammation, and boost cognitive function.

Ceremin contains magnesium, vitamin B12, and Longvida® – a patented form of curcumin that is 65X more absorbable than regular curcumin.

Curcumin can provide many benefits like sharpening your mental function, preventing brain fog, and improving your reflexes.

Ceremin doesn’t stop at curcumin and offers magnesium which can boost your memory formation and help you relax. As well as vitamin B12 can prevent your brain from shrinking by controlling your homocysteine levels.
Click here to learn more about Ceremin.

Still not sure? Click here to read our blog post with the top 5 reasons you should try Ceremin today!

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