While not many people pay attention to it but elderly people’s mental health needs just as much care as that of a young adult. Much like their physical health, even their mental wellness needs to be checked every now and then to ensure overall improving well-being. With the prevailing stigma surrounding mental health, the majority of it is surrounding ageing and the complications that come with it.
BetterHelp has a great article with more information about geriatric psychiatry. If you have been putting geriatric mental health and psychiatry on the sidelines, it is important that you change that attitude immediately.
1. Dementia is a Normal Part of Ageing
People have this common misconception that dementia or senility sets in with ageing. And, this thought process has made it difficult for older adults to get the ideal diagnosis for their condition. Taking these situations lightly, even the other family members in the family start taking the symptoms lightly. It is important for individuals to treat the signs of memory loss very closely. Just because an old person is forgetting things doesn’t mean they have dementia. Sometimes, an underlying condition in the body often contributes to loss of memory temporarily.
2. Alzheimer’s Disease Can’t Be Prevented
While the reports of Alzheimer’s Disease is increasing consistently, there are ways that the incidence of this disease can be prevented. It is necessary that young adults stay physically and mentally active to prevent this age-related disease. Also, there are several factors that further contribute to the development of the disease especially chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes, smoking, etc. All of these conditions and lifestyle choices have adverse impacts on the cognitive skills of older adults, thereby contributing to the development of this disease.
3. Substance Abuse Isn’t Common in Older People
Another common myth that people have is surrounding substance abuse. While using drugs might be more prevalent among young adults, it is not completely forbidden in older adults. Substance abuse is a consistently growing problem that affects more people than we know, resulting in mental health struggles like depression and even other fatalities. Aside from drugs, even alcoholism is extremely common among the older population. It is thus important that we pay close attention to the same instead of brushing it out to the side.
4. Older Adults Only Suffer from Depression
Many people have this misconception that older population suffer more from depression, especially because of the feeling of abandonment. That is not the case though. Reports suggest that depression is more common in younger patients compared to older adults. It is also often believed that depression in the older population is a myth, which is untrue as well. Everyone’s struggle with depression is subjective, so there is no way we can be a judge of someone’s struggles.
All of these myths surrounding geriatric mental health and psychiatry has negative impacts on the overall mental wellness of older patients. So, if you witness someone surrounding you struggling, make sure that you prioritize their mental health and get them the help they need to get better.