Living with dementia is challenging for seniors, and it gets worse when they’re battling a mental health problem. According to studies about the state of mental health and aging in America, approximately 20% of people age 55 years or older experience some mental health concern, such as anxiety, severe cognitive impairment, and mood disorders.
Dementia can result in psychological changes, leading to depression and anxiety, but the degree of the problem depends on the type and stage of dementia. Addressing the mental health needs of a senior with dementia can improve the quality of their life. Here are some tips to help your loved one during tough times.
Identify the Symptoms
When your loved one is feeling distressed, you might be able to spot the signs. Look out for any behavioral changes such as low energy, lack of interest in socializing or substance abuse. You may also notice the older adult speaking differently or constantly worrying about things for no reason.
The first step to addressing a mental health concern is identifying what the issue is. If you notice any changes in their behavior or lifestyle, take them to a doctor for a professional diagnosis. The sooner you identify the issue, the better you can help solve it.Credit: freepik Via Freepik
Explore Nursing Care Options
After a diagnosis, if the doctor confirms that your loved one has a mental health problem, you can explore nursing care options. Look into homes for seniors with dementia to ensure proper care for your family member. Living in a specialized memory home will allow them to manage their mental health concern because registered nurses will help them out 24/7.
A home with support services and a team of caring professionals can help you rest assured that your loved one is in good hands. The staff members at dementia memory care homes know how to identify mental health problems to provide adequate support.
Learn the Facts About the Illness
It is essential to understand your parents’ illness so you can help them accordingly. Take your time to research and figure out how you can best help your family members. For example, if an individual gets diagnosed with depression, it is necessary to find out the difference between situational and clinical depression to provide appropriate care.
You can even share your findings with your loved ones so they are aware of their condition. Make sure you ease them into the conversation before throwing facts at them.Credit: Mikhail Nilov Via Pexels
Encourage Medication Adherence
Taking proper medication for dementia or other mental health conditions is crucial for older adults. Help your family member stay organized by creating lists and separating medication based on the time of the day. Try to make the process less confusing to avoid mixing medications up or taking a higher dose than prescribed.
If the senior lives alone, you can familiarize them with applications that remind them to take their medication. You can also set alarms as reminders.
Dealing with dementia and an additional mental health condition is challenging for any adult. Do your best to simplify the process for your loved ones by addressing their needs.