Mental health and physical health are a two-way street. As we get older, our physical health
can often decline. That could mean adjusting to new health problems, being less independent,
or even adapting to a new environment. This can affect the mental health of older adults.
Mental health in older adults often slips under the radar because it is often unidentified or
unnoticed. Some people might think that symptoms of depression are just a normal sign of
aging. Here are some key facts:
At least one in four older adults experiences some mental disorder, such as depression, anxiety,
or dementia.
Due to the aging population, the number of seniors with mental disorders is expected to double
by 2030.
Depression is the most common mental health problem in older people.
Two-thirds of seniors with mental health problems do not get the treatment they need.
Mental health problems may include isolation, affective and anxiety disorders, dementia, and
psychosis among others. Many seniors also suffer from sleep and behavioral disorders.
Research suggests that seniors benefit from supportive social connections and close personal
If you’re concerned about the mental health of a loved one, watch for these signs:
Change in sleep patterns, high stress or constant worrying, suicidal thoughts, trouble feeling
positive, dependence on drugs or alcohol, feeling hopeless, anger and irritability.
Things you can do to help a friend or loved one:
Treat sleeping problems—ask for your doctor’s help.
Promote a sense of purpose.
Encourage social interaction.
Help them be physically active.
Make sure they eat healthy meals.
Entrust them with a chore.
Show them they are loved.
Seek professional help.

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