Mental Health / Illness Of The Elderly

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Mental Health/Illness of the Elderly Studies show that about 20 percent of older adults within communities are suffering from a mental illness and its estimated that these statistics increase significantly, reaching up to 80 – 90 percent when only considering those living in institutions (Wister and McPherson, 2011). Though mental illness is present is all age cohorts, the elder suffer the greatest (Haug et al., 1984). Mental illness is much more difficult to not only diagnose as well as understand than physical illness. Many cases of elderly mental health issues, unfortunately, remain undiagnosed because of this. The definition of mental health is as follows “the capacity of each of us to feel, think and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face” (Wister and McPherson 2011). A mental illness differs in that it is characterized by changes in a person’s mood and or actions that results in distress or an inability to function within an individual 's everyday life (Wister and McPherson 2011). Reducing the stigma that surrounds mental health and the elderly will decrease the amount of undiagnosed cases and when we are able to detect a mental illness in older adults early, premature institutionalization will be decreased significantly. Overall, mental health is a major problem affecting the elderly today; the following describes various mental health problems and obstacles that need to be overcome to effectively treat elderly patients. Prevention/ postponing of mental illness The promotion of stable and strong mental health for the elderly, until recently, was often overlooked. Due to society 's changing image of how an older adult is “supposed” to look or act mental illness was dismi... ... middle of paper ... ...nding can be put towards mental health initiatives. Conclusion It is no secret that mental health plays a huge role in the life of older adults. Many struggle in secret because of the stigma associated with mental illness as well as the wrongful notion that mental health issues are just a symptom of aging. As described above, there are many different types of mental health problems associated with the elderly population. These problems could be solved with providing awareness not only to caregivers and professionals but the elderly themselves. If they are made aware of potential risk factors of developing a mental health problem, they would be more likely to seek help before the problem becomes any worse or permanent. In conclusion, a stable and healthy mind will contribute to a better quality of life for not only the elderly, but their caregivers as well.
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