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May 17, 2017

Mental Health Disorders in Seniors and How to Identify Them

May is National Mental Health Month, which means it is a good time to take a look at some of the mental health disorders that can befall a senior as they age. Many of these disorders can be treated or cured, so identification is key. Once you have identified what is ailing your senior loved one you care for, you can decide on the correct changes you can make and treatments you can begin to make them feel better.

Here are just a few of the mental health issues a senor might have as they age. If you or your senior care aide notice any of the symptoms listed, contact a doctor as soon as possible so that the healing process can begin.


Depression can occur at any age, but is it especially prevalent in senior citizens. Life changes and loss of loved ones and their own independence can lead to an increase in feelings of sadness, listlessness, and the feeling that there is no point in anything. However, these feelings can also be caused by chemical changes in the brain, meaning that there might be no obvious loss or trauma that they can point to as the cause of their distress.

Some of the symptoms of depression include moodiness, fatigue, insomnia, body aches, listlessness, and an overwhelming feeling of sadness.


Anxiety is another disorder that can occur at any age. Closely related to depression, anxiety can also be caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, or it can be a physical and mental response to stressors in everyday life. Anxiety can actually cause depression and vice versa, so it is possible to have both of these disorders at the same time.

Depending on how it manifests itself, anxiety can appear as a feeling of extreme tension and stress, or it can appear as panic attacks or even obsessive compulsive disorder. Anxiety is more of a fear than a sadness, but many symptoms such as fatigue and insomnia overlap with depression.

Some symptoms of anxiety include moodiness, fatigue, insomnia, racing heart, hyperventilation, nausea, and avoiding certain situations for fear of exacerbating these symptoms.


Dementia would be considered by many as the more “medically recognized” disorder on this list, but in reality, all of these disorders are serious and should be treated as such. That being said, dementia is the one disorder on this list that cannot be reversed. It consists of a gradual deterioration of the brain, and while there are treatments that help to manage the condition, it cannot be cured.

Some symptoms of dementia include loss of memory, difficulty concentrating, and personality and mood changes.

If your senior loved one suffers from depression or anxiety, there are many natural and medicinal treatments that can be used to totally eliminate these problems, and to make your senior feel better. Dementia, unfortunately, is something that cannot be cured, but it can be managed. No matter which of these disorders your loved one has, it is important to get them medical help as soon as possible, as no one should have to feel this way, especially without knowing why.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Senior Care Services in Chicago IL, please contact the caring staff at Big Hearts Home Care today! 

Matthew Calcagno

Matthew is a graduate of Robert Morris College and is a U.S. Navy veteran.Matthew founded Big Hearts Home Care after over a decade at HP. Spending time volunteering at his grandparent’s senior center inspired him to make a bigger difference in the quality of care seniors receive.His grandfather whom turned 100 in 2015 is still a major inspiration to him in seeing that service is provided with a family focused touch.

It is his passion and commitment to providing quality service that has awarded Big Hearts Home Care as Provider of Choice and Employer of Choice in the Chicagoland area. He believes that being an independently owned and operated company allows him the flexibility to manage the business in a way that better serves the clients.


"Helping people is what I was meant to do; it inspires and motivates me," Calcagno said. "I also get to help veterans - assisting them in the VA pension process and providing care for several in the area. This is what I love to do."

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