Dr. Saifun Nahar Sumi
15% of people over the age of 60 suffer from some form of mental illness. Among the causes of geriatric disability, 7.6% are due to psychological and neurological causes. Between 2015-2050, the number of people over the age of 60 will double (that is, the current 12%, it will increase to 22%)
Causes of geriatric mental illness
The overall performance of a person tends to decline with age; Hair becomes tangled, teeth fall out, skin becomes wrinkled, bones begin to decay, fertility becomes reduced or no more.
★ Goes to Retirement. Children grow up, create their own worlds, often move away to make a living or become busy; etc.are some of the reasons a person’s self-confidence decreases with age and the feeling of loneliness creates a suffocating condition.
★Since their middle age, people open their account book of life; thinking about what they got and what they didn’t make them restless and creates stress.
★As people age, their immune system weakens, leading to a variety of long-term physical ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and osteoporosis. Since the mind and body are intimately involved, when one becomes sick, the other also becomes weakened. For example, the rate of depression is higher in people with heart disease than in people who are physically healthy. Again, those who have heart disease and depression, if they do not take treatment for depression, it will worsen the consequences of heart disease.
★ Moreover, rapid urbanization, geographical change, industrialization, Western influences on culture, breaking up of joint families to nuclear families, etc. pose a threat to the mental health of the elderly.
★ Some significant geriatric psychiatric disorders include depression, anxiety disorders, dementia, late onset schizophrenia, bipolar mood disorder or bipolar disorder, sleep disorders, etc.
Common warning signs of mental illness in old age
★ suffering from constant frustration / depression
★Not feeling positive emotions
★ Excessive sleep, or insomnia
★ Suicidal thoughts
★ Significant changes in appetite, energy levels or mood
★Having trouble concentrating, being restless
★Excessive stress or anxiety
★ Short-term or recent memory loss or loss of energy
★ Increased anger, agitation or aggression
★ Behave disobediently
★ Unusual behavior or thinking
★ Permanent digestive problems, body-headaches, symptoms that cannot be proven or explained as being caused by specific physical ailments.
What to do to ensure the mental health of the elderly
★ Provide quality training to health workers and doctors for the care of the elderly.Take necessary steps to manage and prevent geriatric long term mental and physical diseases, drug addiction etc.
★Build age-friendly services and service providers.
★Ensuring the freedom and security of the elderly.
★Early detection and treatment of mental and physical ailments is essential.
★Psychosocial support, counseling and medication should be provided.
★Since there is no complete cure for dementia, steps must be taken to improve the quality of life of dementia patients and their caregivers.
★ To take various programs to stop the violence against elderly.
★ Undertake various developmental activities in the community.
★ Identify and manage risky behaviors among adults.
★ Take advantage of existing healthcare. Because, although we have limited management of mental health services, not all of them are used due to ignorance, ignorance and prejudice.
Mental health and overall well-being are just as important in old age as they are in other ages.Therefore, if an elderly family member develops symptoms of mental illness, a primary care physician or psychiatrist should be contacted as soon as possible to diagnose possible mental illness and seek appropriate medical attention before the disease becomes severe.