Acquiring a comprehensive understanding of the ailments encountered by the aging population is critical for properly providing the care that they require. Physical ailments, often easier to diagnose and treat are perceived to be the most prevalent hardships for aged people. However, studies show that a significant number of seniors are subject to mental illnesses. Thus, emphasizing the need for the important of mental health within the aging population. Though all mental illnesses have an unfavorable impact on the quality of one’s life, depressive and anxiety disorders tend to the most devastating for an elderly person.
Depression is a mood disorder defined by the prevalence of symptoms such as hopelessness, helplessness, personal devaluation and extreme sadness (Roesch, Roberta). Whereas, anxiety disorders is an overwhelming and inhibiting form of severe worry that conflicts with the likelihood of individuals being happy and successful in life (Kandel, Joseph). These ailments bear many similar symptoms such as: insomnia, fatigue, difficulty concentrating while awake. Whereas, a person with an anxiety disorder may experience pains, breathlessness, nausea and diarrhea, a person with depression will encounter thoughts of suicide, depressive mood and feelings of worthlessness.
The elderly population which consists of all adults over the age of 65, constituted for 12.3 percent or 35.9 million people of the entire United States population in 2004. Within that population, depression is estimated to affect more than 6.5 million Americans while approximately 10-20 percent of the population is suffering from an anxiety disorder. About half of the seniors suffering from anxi...
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Roesch, Roberta. “Depression in Seniors." Health Reference Center Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE48&SID=5&iPin=ENDE0206&SingleRecord=True (accessed April 16, 2014).
Ramírez, E., Ortega, A., Chamorro, A., & Colmenero, J. (2014). “A Program of Positive
Intervention in the Elderly: Memories, Gratitude and Forgiveness.” Aging & Mental Health, 18(4), 463-470. doi:10.1080/13607863.2013.856858
Walsh, K. (2000, August 15). “Parkinson's Disease and Anxiety.” Postgraduate Medical Journal, Retrieved April 05, 2014, from http://pmj.bmj.com/content/77/904/89.short
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