Emotional Disorders Among Seniors

Dr. Purushothaman
January 13, 2014


Emotional disorders among seniors present unique challenges to family members and caregivers. Emotional disorders differ from person to person and in some cases present intermittent symptoms, making diagnosis and treatment difficult. In fact, one overarching issue for the elderly is chronic anxiety disorder since worry overshadows each part of life when a senior discovers that they can no longer live the way they were accustomed to. The following are some types of emotional disorders that may benefit from in home care services.
Anxiety Disorders
Disruptive anxiety: Seniors suffering from this excessively react to the presence of daily stressors. It's diagnosed after the stressors are first identified, and then compared to the more accepted responses a healthy person might display. The sufferer often loses control or reveals deep distress over simple events. If not treated properly, this can become a chronic anxiety disorder.
Adjustment disorder: When a senior is put into a new situation, s/he goes through an adjustment period (as anyone does). However, a person prone to this type of disorder can experience an unbearable amount of anxiety. If not treated earlier, the senior can be driven to becoming overly conscious of his presence in a group, always concerned about what others think of him.
Panic disorder: This stems from an influx of severe fear. Social changes or other adjustment situations create an abnormal reaction of exacerbated stress in everyday situations. When an everyday situation is distorted to this degree, it can initiate panic attacks which can evolve into a serious chronic condition. Interestingly, the fear of experiencing a panic attack can be a major precipitator of a panic attack.
Emotional Disorders
There are a plethora of emotional disorders but here are a few of the more common ones:
Bipolar: A mood disorder, bipolar can cause seniors to have difficulty maintaining interpersonal relationships.
Depression: When faced with isolation and a dwindling quality of life, many seniors become depressed - some dangerously so.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: PTSD is set of symptoms caused by trauma that presents as a multitude of different symptoms and behavioral issues, and often exacerbates existing emotional disorders.
Mania: Similar to bipolar, seniors with this condition suffer sharp modd swings that last for weeks to months in regular cycles.
Poor Hygiene: Sometimes elders begin refusing to take showers or wear clean clothes. They might not perform basic hygienic tasks. This may be caused by depression, a sense of a loss of control of their lives or even a decreased sense of sight and smell. A failing memory could also be the instigator.
Emotional disorders among seniors can be a challenge for family members and caregives. This is where in home care services can provide significant value by improving the quality of life for the entire family. In home care providers are adept at interacting with and caring for seniors with anxiety, agoraphobia, etc, and can ensure that they retain as much independence as possible while still receiving quality personal care.
If someone in your family is suffering from an emotional disorder and you want to know more about how in home care can help, call a professional senior care provider now for an immediate, no-cost consultation.

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