As seniors age, they are more at risk of loneliness and isolation. Now, this may be due to various factors, such as the death of a spouse, children moving out, mental health, fighting illnesses, and so on.
However, such mental health concerns could take a serious toll on the mental and emotional well-being of the senior. Therefore, if you see even one of the symptoms in the elderly loved one as discussed below, you must find an elderly companion near you in the U.K as soon as possible, before things get worse.
There are numerous symptoms by which one can easily spot whether their elderly loved one is at risk of loneliness and isolation, such as:
1- Social Withdrawal
Seniors, as they age, withdraw themselves from socializing like they once used to when they were younger.
This is natural at some point, however. If an elderly is seen to completely withdraw from the outside of their home. This is something to worry about. In case you see your elderly loved one lose interest from the outside world, as well as losing interest in things they first used to enjoy. And are rarely seen conversing with or talking to other people. Then this is probably an early sign that you are elderly. A loved one might be struggling with mental health issues.
Furthermore, due to numerous psychological problems, they often withdraw from their social circles as well. You might see them losing interest in activities they first used to enjoy and engage in.
Even The National Institute on Aging has suggested that isolation and social withdrawal can have negative impacts on the health of the elderly. They might even become victims of high blood pressure, heart disease, a weakened immune system, Alzheimer’s disease, and in extreme cases, even death.
2- Not Taking Care of Themselves
Elderly who are struggling with mental health issues or are at risk of loneliness will be seen not taking care of themselves well.
They are mostly directed at personal care. Which includes hygiene and regular grooming. Therefore, any particular changes in clothing or grooming might indicate a mental health crisis. This change usually involves neglected personal care by forgoing activities of daily living such as showering, shaving, washing, or changing clothes every day.
3- Change in Eating Habits
In case you see a sudden change in the eating habits of your elderly loved one, this may be a cause of alarm. This will involve either binging on food items excessively or trying to avoid eating.
In the case of avoiding food and skipping meals. The elderly might be losing their appetite because of their mental health. This is why they might also be seen to skip nutrition. And healthy meals and go for unhealthy and junk food. Moreover, eating excessively and more than normal can also indicate a serious mental health issue in the elderly.
4- Changes in Weight
Changes in the weight of the elderly can mean that the elderly are either gaining too much weight or losing weight. Therefore, this might be due to overeating, or not eating properly. This takes us back to the previous symptom, as this has to do with the elderly’s eating habits and patterns.
5- Low Energy
Of course, seniors are not as energetic as they once used to be. However, in case you notice a sudden drop in their energy, then you definitely might need to check upon them.
For instance, they always appear tired or lethargic and would avoid any physical activity. For example, the routes are once taken by walking or strolls. Therefore, such elderly will be seen to be low on energy most of the time.
6- Sleeping Patterns
When the elderly are struggling with mental health issues. They will be seen to have no fixed sleeping cycle.
They’ll be seen to be either sleeping too much. Especially throughout the day, or barely sleeping. This may also include staying up all night because of depression, anxiety. And other mental health issues, and then sleeping through the preceding day.
This unhealthy sleeping pattern, especially lack of sleep, could lead to more concerning issues regarding the senior’s health and well-being.
7- Drug/Substance Abuse
Drug or substance abuse is more common in young adults, who find a way to fight their mental health issues by using drugs or other substances. However, this does not mean substance or drug abuse is not present at all in the elderly.
In today’s time, we are seeing binge drinking among the elderly on the rise. This excessive alcohol could have more underlying disadvantages to the seniors, especially if they are on medication.
Furthermore, drugs can also lead to other diseases, such as heart disease. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and even worsens the symptoms of other underlying health conditions.
8- Issues Related to Memory
Other than disorders and diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, the elderly can be seen to be struggling with memory issues when they’re suffering from mental health issues. This may include misplacing things. Or even forgetting important dates or appointments.
Therefore, such forgetfulness and memory. Loss should not be taken as part of the aging process.
One must get connected to the elderly’s psychiatrist. So that such issues do not worsen.
9- Dull Mood
One of the obvious symptoms one could spot for mental health.
Seniors suffering from mental health issues, or are at risk of isolation. Moreover, you won’t see them excited or enthusiastic about things they once used to be ecstatic about. Thus, such melancholiness could lead to hopelessness and even suicidal thoughts in extreme cases.
10- Feeling of Worthlessness, Guilt, and Helplessness
If you see your elderly loved one having unexplained emotions, such as feeling useless, guilty, and unable to make even the simple decisions themselves. Then this might indicate a possibility of mental health issues.
This is one of the most common issues in the elderly because as they age. They feel as if they are not useful anymore. Therefore, feeling worthless can be a symptom of anxiety and depression.