4 Mental Illnesses Commonly Found in Seniors

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Many people think being irritable, frequently forgetting things, experiencing confusion, and being clumsy are a normal part of aging. However, research indicates this isn’t the case. These symptoms are often caused by a mental illness. Being aware of these four common mental illnesses can help your senior loved one receive a proper diagnosis. 


1. Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive mental illness that gradually worsens over time, is one of the most common types of disorders in aging adults. Though scientists aren’t sure of the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease, they believe it may be caused by the ineffective deposits of tau proteins. 

Tau proteins are responsible for transferring information to the nerve cells. When these proteins become entangled, the nerve cells gradually begin to die and the information is no longer conveyed. 

Seniors who smoke, have high blood pressure, or have family histories of Alzheimer’s disease are at higher risk for developing this mental illness. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include: 

  • Forgetting names of people and events
  • Losing valuable objects
  • Having difficulty with organizing
  • Experiencing moodiness or anger
  • Losing the ability to perform daily tasks


Aging adults with Alzheimer’s disease can benefit from receiving professional Alzheimer’s care. Fort Lauderdale seniors need regular mental stimulation when managing memory-related conditions, and a reliable in-home caregiver who has extensive training in Alzheimer’s care can be a great asset.


2. Vascular Dementia

When seniors develop vascular dementia, the small vessels in the brain have become narrowed or partially blocked, which prevents the brain from getting all the blood and oxygen it needs. Seniors who smoke, drink alcohol excessively, have low or high blood pressure, or have diabetes are at increased risk for vascular dementia. Symptoms of vascular dementia include:

  • Poor judgment
  • Memory loss
  • Language difficulties
  • Inability to perform everyday tasks


3. Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that gradually worsens over time. Though scientists aren’t sure of the exact cause, they believe Parkinson’s is caused by clumps of proteins called Lewy bodies. When Lewy bodies cluster together, they cause chemical changes in the brain that may cause Parkinson’s disease to occur. One of these changes is a decrease in the number of dopamine-producing nerve cells in the brain that control movement. Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include:

  • Tremors in the hands
  • Slowed movement
  • Stiffness
  • Decrease in facial expressions
  • Slurred speech

Older adults with Parkinson’s or other age-related diseases might need extra help to accomplish everyday tasks. If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of home care. Fort Lauderdale Assisting Hands Home Care is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. 


4. Brain Atrophy

Sometimes referred to as “brain shrinkage,” brain atrophy occurs when there’s a loss of brain tissue. Brain atrophy is typically caused by another condition. However, once brain atrophy occurs, it can cause a variety of physical and mental impairments. Depending on the underlying condition, brain atrophy may affect the entire brain (general atrophy) or certain parts of the brain (focal atrophy). 

A senior may be more likely to experience brain atrophy if he or she is malnourished or has had a stroke, brain infection, or traumatic brain injury. Symptoms of brain atrophy include:

  • Cognitive impairment
  • Memory difficulties
  • Judgment issues
  • Difficulty with language

Certain diseases can make it difficult for seniors to live comfortably at home. If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, an elderly home care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services. To learn more about our reliable, compassionate in-home care services, contact us today.