Understanding the Need for Counseling for Aging Population Mental Health


Mental Health

Mental health for seniors have always come with it a specific type of prejudice and stigma. The perception about mental concerns for seniors have been so misunderstood to the point that it has become stigmatized, demonized, mocked, minimized, stereotyped, feared, danced around, and rationalized in most schools, institutions, media outlets, public safety protocols, and even friends and family conversations.

The World Health Organization has estimated 15 percent of adults aged 60 and above suffer from a mental health concern. That doesn’t mean that people at that age with mental health concerns are showing signs of weakness or flaw of character or a lack of faith or a moral failing. However, it is important to consider how mental conditions impact human thinking, mood or feeling as well as their ability to relate more effectively with other people. Not only that the diagnosis as well as treatment of mental health conditions for aging population becomes really complicated but the logistics of addressing this concern has evolved to something really complex.

Understanding the need for counseling for aging population mental health should be a top priority, not only for the government or for the community but also the inner circle of the senior individual suffering a mental health concern. One of the fundamental step in understanding is knowing what causes mental health illness, the types of mental health concerns and learning some quick help guides in helping a senior who is mentally ill.

Cause of Mental Health Concern

There is not a single trigger or a single cause of a mental health concern. Moreover, it is not something that is resulted from a particular event. In fact, mental health concern is an evolved condition brought about by interlinking causes, one of these would be genetics or commonly, family history of mental health conditions. Another part of these causes would be the environment as well as the individual’s lifestyle choices.

For individuals exposed to prolong stress, physical, emotional or sexual trauma, being a victim or commission of crime, and other stressful and/or traumatic conditions and experiences in life are susceptible to mental health concerns at the later part of life. Some biochemical processes as well as nutrition and brain structure may sometimes contribute in large part to the susceptibility of acquiring or developing a mental health condition at the later part of life.

Most Common Mental Health Concerns in People Aging 60 and Above

Here are the most common mental health condition that you will encounter with sufferers who are aged 40 and above are the following:

Bipolar disorder
Anxiety disorder
Major depressive disorder
Borderline personality disorder
Dissociative disorder
Obsessive Compulsive disorder
Post-traumatic Stress disorder
Substance Abuse
Schizoaffective disorders
Alzheimer’s disease

How to Help a Senior with Mental Health Concern

There are a few help recommendations that you can undertake in order to help a senior with mental health concern. Understanding what they are going through as well as finding the need for counselling would be the best approach.

  • Organizing a medical file, whether it is digital or printed. The files should include the name, date of birth, medications, dosages, vitamins, doctors, contact numbers of doctors, etc. Also, make sure to create a back-up copy.
  • Make sure to prepare doctor’s appointments by providing the doctor of your observation of the senior’s adherence to medications, vitamins, etc. Provide any observation of allergies, missed medications, side effects, and so forth.
  • Always accompany the senior to doctor’s appointments. Bring with you a pad and pen to make sure you can easily write down the doctor’s observations, recommendations and advice.
  • Help the senior remember their doctors as well as other alternative therapies or medications.
  • Do some research and readings about the senior’s symptoms, medications, behavior and way of life. Obtain reputable information around recommendations and treatments.
  • Help the senior plan for and commit to taking their medications as well as ensuring that they have medications at the given schedule. Take note and recognize changes in dosages or changes in formulation.
  • Monitor the senior’s reports of somatic complaints as well as ER visits. Always bring the ER paperwork to the doctor during the doctor’s appointment.
  • Encourage the senior to take part in many social interaction and community activities. This will help the senior to surround himself with a lot of social support instead of being isolated and feeling alone and helpless. Involving the senior to a great community and social interaction is crucial to the senior’s mental health.
  • Encourage the senior to perform some mental and physical exercises that are within the senior’s abilities and physical condition.

Helpful Facts About Mental Health Services for Adults


Mental Health Services for Adults

There’s so much questions and confusion around mental health and the services required for adults. With all the assumptions present and vocally rampant, it is dangerous to take each piece at face value without fully knowing and understanding the context behind the sensitive nature of mental health services for adults.

There are as many as one in five older adults that experience mental health concerns that are uncommon and unnatural part of aging. The most common of these mental health concerns are mood disorders or anxiety, such as depression. These mental health concerns typically respond to treatment in most cases. However, the sad truth is that older adults never receive or do not seek treatment or help that they critically need. If left untreated or undiagnosed, these mental health concerns create serious and critical implications for older adults as well as their loved ones.

We have compiled a few helpful facts about mental health services for adults that might help you gain more knowledge and understanding in order for you to be able to respond appropriately to situations.

Mental health problem is not normal and not part of aging

While most people observes this inaccurately but mental health problems can’t be associated to the normal part of aging. While most older adults experience a lot of losses, a sign that an older adult has a clinical depression is when deep sadness lingers. On the same context, an anxiety disorder is completely different from normal worries. Some facts below:

  • Around six percent of older adults have depressive illnesses that can be diagnosed.
  • One in four Americans adults have mental disorder during any year that can be diagnosed.

Mental health is equally important as physical health

A great mental health basically contributes to the overall great feeling of well-being. Just as you put a ton of importance of physical health to stay healthy and functioning, an untreated mental health disorder can definitely diminish your ability to function and can even lead to other concerns, such as poor quality of life, substance abuse, increased mortality. Moreover, research has proven that mental illness can contribute to the slow healing of physical illness.

Older adults that are healthy are more prone to grow, thrive and enjoy life

Exercising both your mind and body at the same time maintaining your social connections are definitely good for your mental health. Walking, reading and socializing are just among the activities that keep you live and enjoy life at any part of your age.

Regardless of your medical history, older adults are at risk for mental health problems

More mental health problems can appear late in life even though most older adults spend a lifetime managing chronic mental health illness. Parkinson’s disease, stroke, arthritis, cancer, or diabetes as well as some medications can lead to mental health deterioration. Even older adults without a history of any substance abuse may abuse drugs, alcohol or medication at a later part of their lives.

One of the major risks among adults is suicide

Today, the suicide rate is at a highest among older adults. A couple of facts below:

  • The suicide attempts of older adults are far more lethal. There is one suicide for every four attempts for those aged 65 years old and above compared to the one suicide for every twenty attempts for all of the other age groups.
  • The highest suicide rate is from those aged 85 years old and above and the second highest is from those aged 75 to 84.

The following symptoms may need a call for help:

  • Sadness that is observed to be lasting more than 2 weeks
  • Consistent worrying of regular issues, such as health, family and money
  • Consistent difficulty of concentrating or focus or trouble sleeping
  • Feeling confused even in familiar places or high frequency of trouble remembering things
  • Taking more medication than prescribed or having more than one alcoholic drink a day

It is common to misdiagnose or avoid

  • Only around fifty percent or around half of older adults who discuss their mental health issues receive appropriate and adequate treatment from physician
  • About fifty percent of the time physical care physicians fail to diagnose depression

Older adults may not automatically have mental health problems but they have a unique need for mental health care

As mental health problem should not be naturally associated to aging, older adults have changing chemistry and bodies as well as changing family, relationships and friendships. Most of all, older adults go through different changes of living situations throughout their lifetime. All of these have an effect on their overall mental health and they all need to be considered in the treatment.