Health Mental Health

Mental And Health Issues Of the Elderly

Published at 02/27/2012 23:54:42


Aging can have many effects on people. While some elderly people may be confined to bed or chairs for several hours, if not permanently, others are able to compete in athletic competitions and enjoy good health. While some changes in the human body are inevitable with aging, others can be reduced or entirely prevented through certain measures.

The mental and health effects of aging are complex and not easily understood. In some cultures where elderly people are revered and respected, older people typically enjoy better health and a greater sense of productivity. In countries like the United States where aging is viewed less positively, the elderly may suffer from several adverse mental and health conditions. Some of the most common mental and health conditions can be treated through therapy and medication. If you suspect that you or a loved one are suffering from problems related to aging, seek help immediately.


As the elderly get older, they often retire from their jobs and experience a decline in productivity. A lack of hobbies or meaningful work to do can cause some older people to become depressed. Physical problems that may prevent exercise or keep the elderly from going out on their own can increase isolation and depressed feelings.

Overeating, oversleeping, lack of interest in formerly enjoyed activities, not working or missing work, and talking about feeling helpless, sad or hopeless could all be indications of depression. In severe cases, depression can lead to suicide. Encourage a loved one to get involved in a hobby or participate in games with a loved one. Therapy and medication may also be needed to relieve symptoms of depression. Taking the grandchildren to visit their grandparents, getting involved in a charitable activity with an older person or setting aside time to spend together can all relieve symptoms of mental and health depression.

Alzheimer's Disease

Sometimes, elderly people may begin to experience forgetfulness. While everyone forgets sometimes, people suffering from Alzheimer's disease may forget who they are, where they are and where they are going, and other important information. Since stress and depression can mirror symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, doctors should first screen for those conditions.

While Alzheimer's disease is a progressive degenerative disease, there are medications that can slow the progression of the disease. Talk to your doctor about ways to help slow the progression of Alzheimer's. Getting the elderly person involved, such as participating in a hobby, reading, sudoku puzzles or crossword puzzles can all help a person use their mind and delay the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Tips and comments

There are several mental and health conditions that become more likely as a person ages, such as osteoporosis, lung disease, diabetes, vision problems, cancer, heart disease and incontinence. You may have to undergo surgical procedures or organ transplants, such as if you have lung disease. Other conditions, like heart disease, diabetes or high cholesterol, may require a strict diet and regular cardiovascular exercise, along with medications to further reduce your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol.

Talk to your doctor about any symptoms you might be having, such as dizziness, hearing problems or problems reading or seeing. These could be age-related problems. Doctors may be able to prescribe special glasses or hearing aides to help reduce the impact of mental and health related problems of aging.