Psychiatry: Can Seniors Have Mental Health Issues?




The National Institute of Mental Health published a study claiming that around 20 percent of seniors experience mental health issues or problems. “Mental wellness however, requires some effort, in the same way physical health does,” says Jennice Vilhauer Ph.D. The same research also revealed that two out of three adults are lucky enough to receive treatment. This is alarming, which is why it is essential for people to be aware of mental illness in the elderly.


Below are some of the common signs or symptoms of mental health disorder for parents:


  1. Sudden Loss Of Appetite

Take note that seniors are not fond of having a high food intake on a daily basis. This is usually the case most importantly when the old persons involved already have food restrictions for health reasons. It is only normal to see that your elderly parent is starting to be picky about what he eats. However, once he starts to lose appetite for days, it can be an indication that he is suffering from depression or anxiety.





 Constant Mood Swings

When seniors age, there is a high possibility that they suddenly become short tempered. They will have mood swings most of the time, because of the several problems or issues that they encounter as they age. But if you notice that your senior parent’s mood swings have lasted for at least two weeks, then maybe it is about time to see a psychiatrist for him.


  1. Thoughts Of Suicide

Listen to what your parent says whenever you have a conversation. Always go in between the lines to fully understand what he is saying. He may be going through a difficult phase in his life. Be sure that you are aware of this. Always keep in mind that suicidal thoughts are not typical. You need to take it seriously. Whenever your parent mentions it, the best thing to do is to find ways to improve his mental health. Do more things that could make him happy.


  1. Difficulty In Sleeping

Another common symptom for depressed individuals is difficulty in sleeping. If your parent starts to wake up in the middle of the night for consecutive days, then it could be a sign that something is bothering him. If this situation continues to take place for a long period, then there is a high chance that he is suffering from depression.






Several factors can cause mental health issues in seniors. It could be brought about by problems in family life, relationships with others and finances.  Once you discover that your old parent has developed a mental disorder, the smart thing to do is find professional help. As much as possible, look for a medical doctor or psychiatrist who could look into the case of your parent.

“Being emotionally well doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re happy all the time, but rather, that you’re self-aware and able to shift as a way to feel better,” said Diana Raab Ph.D.


Avoid making rash decisions when it comes to finding a therapist or psychiatrist to help your senior parent. “It is important, when looking for someone to help with your problems, to get recommendations from people you trust, to interview several different therapists, to ask about their training, and finally, to trust your instinct,” according to F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W. Be sure to conduct the necessary research to avoid choosing the wrong health professional. As much as possible, exert some efforts to ask for referrals or recommendations. Remember that this issue must be taken seriously at all times.