If you are seeking out mental health assessment tools, it is likely there is a loved one in your life—or someone you are caring for—who is showing signs of behavioral change. If so, know that you are not alone. There are solutions to improve your quality of life at every age.
Why Assessments Are Needed
There are life changes specific to older age. Because of these shifts, sometimes mental health issues are missed in regular physical checkups. Plus, many are hesitant to bring up concerns because they are fearful. Because they are scared, they choose to ignore the symptoms. Or, in other cases, individuals have a difficult time expressing the symptoms to their healthcare providers. It is common for older adults to report on physical issues rather than psychological concerns.
But remember, it is possible a physical concern is linked to a mental health condition. Symptoms can manifest as chronic pain, loneliness, alcohol abuse, grief, and various physical impairments. In addition, look out for changes in energy, increased aggressiveness, behavior shifts, poor grooming habits, sleep issues, and difficulties in enjoying positive experiences.
If any of these issues sound familiar, contact a healthcare provider to express your concerns. There are mental health assessment tools that can help you and your family determine what is happening and why these changes are occurring.
What Happens Next
Assessment tools are used to determine if a mental health issue or a cognitive disorder is present. Different clinicians prefer different assessment tools, but there are a few that are more common than others.
For example, your healthcare professional might ask a list of questions referred to as the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). Essentially, GDS is a list of questions and a patient responds to each question with a yes or no answer. Each question is worth 1 point. The healthcare team records the total amount of points. The scores point to the likelihood of depression; a score of 0-9 is categorized as not depressed, 10-19 is considered mildly depressed, and severe depressives score in the 20-30 range.
Once you have an idea of what the issue might be, there are many treatment options available. Talking through issues can be immensely helpful for people. For some, talking with a counselor might also be supported with medication. It depends on the situation and the individual.
When to Request an Assessment
If you suspect there are issues that need to be addressed, it may be time to get more information with mental health assessment tools. If your parents do not seem to have a healthy emotional wellbeing or if you are caring for someone who no longer finds joy in activities or friends, it may be time to reach out for help.
Talk with a counselor today and find the right path for you and your family. If necessary, you can get the help of other health professionals, too. This may include psychologists, dietitians, or faith-based leaders.
Kendall Van Blarcom is a senior helping seniors. Contact Van Blarcom Consulting today for help with your personal problems. Or, reach out to provide support for an older adult in your life.