Anxiety is often overlooked in the elderly

old dude

The National Council on Aging says that 25 percent of older adults will experience some form of mental disorder, including anxiety, depression and dementia. This trend is expected to double by 2030.

The NCOA says that untreated mental health problems result in other medical and quality-of-life issues for the elderly, including increased mortality rates and higher risk of suicide.

Causes of anxiety

The Geriatric Mental Health Foundation says that many things contribute to older adults becoming prone to anxiety. These often include stress, bereavement as friends and loved ones pass away, trauma related to financial or other issues as transitions to retirement take their toll, and the fear of debilitating mental illnesses like Alzheimer's or dementia. Many stressors can contribute.

Common signs of anxiety

Recognizing symptoms of anxiety early can help speed diagnosis and successful treatment. The NCOA and GMHF suggest that caregivers and family watch for signs such as:

  • Excessive worry or fear
  • Refusal to do routine activities
  • Avoidance of social situations
  • Over-concern with safety
  • Poor sleep
  • Hoarding
  • Depression
  • Over-use of alcohol or other depressants
  • Preoccupation with routine


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