Older Adult Mental Health
What is it
Depression and Anxiety as you age
Our population in Australia like the rest of the world is ageing. Therefore we are living longer and our incidence and prevalence of diseases and health related conditions and concerns of these are also increasing.
In addition to the typical stressors common to everyone, older adults are more likely to be impacted upon by loneliness, increasing health concerns, isolation, loss of independence and psychological distress that are associated with health concerns affecting mobility, chronic pain, increasing frailty and falls risk, a loss of independence, change in role and life transition. Older adults also are more likely to encounter bereavement and loss of friends, family and pets.
The research suggests that 15-20% of adults aged 60 and above are affected by depression, anxiety and other conditions, with Depression, Dementia and Anxiety among the most common difficulties affecting older adults.
is characterised by a 2 week period or longer of low mood, lack of motivation and interest in activities that were previously enjoyed, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, increased or reduced appetite, difficulty sleeping, feeling guilty and worthlessness, and sometimes suicidal ideation.
is commonly associated with depression, and may also be experienced at a reduced level in older age. Many of the physical symptoms of anxiety also mimic those of other medical conditions. Anxiety is characterised by worrying, racing thoughts that are difficult to control, feeling as though your mind is going blank, restlessness, irritability and feeling edgy, difficulties with sleep, and physical symptoms (sweating, racing heart, chest pain or tightness, difficulty breathing, trembling and shaking, tiredness and nausea).
A common myth associated with ageing refers to Depression and Anxiety being seen as a normal part of ageing which should be expected. Depression and Anxiety are not a normal part of the ageing process, and as such, the signs and symptoms of these are often misidentified in older people and missed by health-care professionals. Furthermore, there may be an increased reluctance for older people to seek help for their concerns, and symptoms experienced may be more likely attributed to health problems rather than depression or anxiety.
How can a psychologist help older adults with mental health
What can be done and is effective in resolving the issue for you?
If this sounds like something you have experienced or are currently experiencing, support is available to assist you to reduce the impact of depression and anxiety and enjoy an enhanced quality of life. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Interpersonal Psychotherapy have been shown to be effective in the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders across the age span. Accessing support and feeling validated can also have therapeutic impact.
Author: Bronwyn Massavelli, Clinical Psychologist
Please view the profiles of our team below who work with individuals who suffer from social problems
If you require additional information, please call our office on 07 3256 6320. Our mental health focused reception staff will be only too happy to assist you with your enquiry about our service and can suggest the most suitable Psychologist for your concern.