Although older people make significant contributions to society as volunteers, active members of the workforce, leaders, and family members, most are more susceptible to emotional disorders. Unfortunately, these emotional difficulties go unnoticed, even by healthcare professionals.
Also, the stigma surrounding these complications makes older people hesitant to seek help. Whether you are a professional caregiver taking care of the elderly or having an elderly relative under your care, you need to understand the various emotional difficulties they go through and how to treat them. Please continue reading to learn more about the common emotional challenges experienced by older people, the risk factors, and how to treat them.
Common Emotional Difficulties of the Elderly
As people grow old, their bodies go through various stages of change, leaving them experiencing constant stress, anger, anxiety, worry, and other negative emotions. If these emotions are not controlled, they cause severe emotional disorders such as emotional eating, social phobia, insomnia, fear related to cognitive abilities, stress, alcohol abuse, and anger issues.
Possible Triggers for Emotional Disorders in Elderly People
One of the main reasons these emotional difficulties in older people are not diagnosed early is that older people are less likely to report psychological issues. Most of them only report physical problems. So, they only become apparent when they are at an advanced stage. Some of the possible triggers for emotional complications in older people include:
- Chronic disease
- Physical impairments like thyroid or adrenal disease that affect emotion, thought, or memory
- Major life changes
- Chronic pain
- Physical disabilities
- Major life changes
- Certain medications
- Heavy alcohol consumption or drug abuse
- Malnutrition/poor diet
- Dementia-causing illness
How to Treat Emotional Complications in Elderly People
There are various treatment options for emotional disorders in the elderly, including medication, therapy, or both. If you notice that your elderly parent struggles with an emotional disorder, don’t hesitate to contact their physician for immediate intervention. You will be directed to a geriatric psychiatrist, psychologist, or counselor for further diagnosis and treatment in most cases.
Although there is no medicine currently to treat dementia, there are many things that can be done to support and improve the life of an older person with dementia. For instance, you should emphasize early diagnosis, optimizing physical and mental health, identifying and treating related physical illnesses, identifying and treating challenging behaviors, and providing the necessary information and long-term support to caregivers.