mentally ill senior

How to Help a Mentally Ill Senior

Senior health relies on both physical and mental wellness. Regrettably, senior mental health issues are common. Often, a mentally ill senior is not getting the help and support they need.

Sometimes, this is because the first signs of mental illness are thought to be symptoms of aging. But family members should be sure that healthcare providers are not mistaking an older adult’s symptoms of depression, or another mental health issue, as a normal part of aging.

Mentally Ill Senior or Aging Adult?

While some symptoms of mental health issues and aging are similar, there are differences, too. For example, as people age they may become a bit more forgetful. But significant mood changes, extreme memory loss, and a decrease in an individual’s commitment to self-care, could be related to depression or anxiety issues.

Early detection of issues means a senior’s quality of life can be enhanced sooner. Yet it is common for a mentally ill senior to mask their symptoms from doctors and healthcare providers.

If you are concerned for a senior you love, or are a senior who is experiencing symptoms yourself, talk to a professional. If there is a mental health issue, there are many options for improvment; counseling, medications, lifestyle changes, or community support.

With years of experience improving the lives of seniors, Van Blarcom Consulting can help to determine what path might be best for you or your loved one.

Grief and Depression

Loss is a difficult part of aging, and many seniors find themselves mourning for a spouse, friend, or family member. Some aging adults even find themselves grieving over the loss of their own independence or health, too. Life changes can be difficult.

But sadness does not have to be a part of everyday living when you are senior. There are differences between grief and depression. Grieving can be a wide range of feelings, with highs and lows, good days and bad days. When suffering from depression, individuals can feel bad continuously.

While there is no set time for grief to dissipate, it should gradually change. If a senior is unable to enjoy time with loved ones or appreciate hobbies and activities that have brought them joy in the past, they may be experiencing depression.

Get Support

Becoming knowledgeable about symptoms of mental illnesses, and how they are similar or differ from symptoms of aging, can help you stay healthy and arm you with the knowledge needed to help seniors you love. Isolation and lack of support can leave seniors without the help they need. Early intervention can mean more years of happiness.

Also, remember that it is never too late to make lifestyle changes and learn. The brain thrives on learning new things and making new friends. You and the seniors you love are able to heal and adapt, whatever age you happen to be.

Are you ready to talk through some problems you’ve been having? Are you supporting a mentally ill senior? Contact Van Blarcom Consulting today to get help with aging, depression, anxiety, or other issues.


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Are you feeling “uneasy” about a situation in your life? Kendall Van Blarcom provides caring and compassion as your personal confidant, helping you overcome the obstacles standing in the way of your peace and joy. Sessions are conducted via a secure landline. Call for an appointment today.

Van Blarcom Consulting Mission Statement

To provide improved mental health support for seniors, education, and motivation to individuals having difficulty with life’s challenges, and to empower them to turn their life around so they can improve it with positive changes that will greatly influence their thoughts, feelings, and actions for the rest of their life.

Kendall E. Van Blarcom, Psy.M. Licensed Psychotherapist (Retired)


Please note: I do not offer the services of a virtual counselor, therapist or geriatric psychologist. Online personal consulting is not intended to take the place of traditional face-to-face therapy, clinical assessment or treatment.

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