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The mental health of older adults often goes overlooked or untreated, and that's problematic. Many seniors deal with mental stress, depression and anxiety, worsening their overall quality of life. Luckily, there are a few actions caregivers and loved ones can take to make sure their older relatives are doing OK.
Why do seniors experience mental health issues?
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 20 percent of people over the age of 55 experience some form of mental health condition, such as anxiety, bipolar disorder, cognition issues and depression. Among these conditions, depression is the most common among seniors and is usually the least recognized. It can have several effects on senior health, including physical and social aspects. Depression can also worsen medical conditions, the CDC acknowledged. Mental illness can sometimes be caused by medical conditions, according to Leading Age magazine. Depression may be caused by loneliness and isolation, retirement or the death of a loved one, Helpguide.org stated.
Regardless of why a mental illness develops, if it's ignored, it may take away from a senior's independence, Leading Age magazine noted. Loved ones and caregivers need to notice the signs early to prevent the condition from getting worse.
How to help
There are a few ways to recognize these early symptoms in older adults and help them return to a happier, healthier life.