Many seniors experience physical symptoms that may actually be manifestations of deeper, more serious changes in their mental health. Do you know what to look for to ensure this is not the case for your elderly loved one? The staff at Home Care Assistance in Naples has put together this list to help you recognize some physical symptoms that can result from mental health changes.
Sleep quality can often be a barometer of your loved one’s mental health. Insomnia may indicate the presence of neurological conditions like Parkinson’s, dementia, or depression, or it can even result from the fear of not waking up. A severe lack of sleep can also contribute to mental disorders, creating a cycle of decreased health.
2. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Someone who repeats a behavior over and over is said to have OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder. The person begins the behavior to control a fear he or she has, but eventually the behavior takes control and the person cannot stop doing it. Though most people who develop OCD do so earlier in life, when a senior practices this type of behavior it may be related to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Often directly connected to OCD, obsessively collecting and retaining items of little or no value is known as hoarding. Some seniors begin to see their possessions as part of their identity and can no longer differentiate between themselves and their items. To get rid of things is to lose a part of themselves. If your loved one was already prone to anxiety or feared the possibility of outliving his or her resources or that memories might be lost without tangible evidence, hoarding may be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Substance Abuse
Though seniors are not who we usually think of when someone mentions substance abuse, many of them are misusing their medications. If you discover this is happening with your loved one, you need to ask yourself why. It is possible his or her memory has decreased enough that he or she can no longer recall taking medication, or the onset of dementia may have resulted in confusion about which medications to take.
If you notice new behaviors in your loved one, don’t consider it just a manifestation of aging. There may be underlying mental conditions behind these behaviors, which can keep your loved one from living a normal and healthy life. A professional in-home caregiver can help your loved one better manage these conditions. If you are looking for trusted Alzheimer’s and dementia care in Naples, give Home Care Assistance a call. Our caregivers are all trained in the Balanced Care Method, which helps promote healthy lifestyle factors like sharp minds and calmness and purpose. For more information on our senior care services, call a Care Manager today at (239) 449-4701 to schedule a free in-home consultation.