Many people think being irritable, frequently forgetting things, experiencing confusion, and being clumsy are a normal part of aging. However, more and more 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 a family history of Alzheimer’s disease are more at risk of developing the mental illness. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include:Losing valuable objects
- Forgetting names of people and events
- 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. Cleveland 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 of the blood and oxygen it needs. Seniors who smoke, drink alcohol excessively, have low or high blood pressure, or have diabetes are at an increased risk of 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 a clump of protein called a Lewy body. When the Lewy bodies cluster together, they cause chemical brain changes that may cause Parkinson’s disease to occur. One of these changes is the 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
- Slowing of movement
- Decrease in facial expressions
- Slurred speech
Older adults with Parkinson’s or other age-related diseases might need extra help to accomplish daily tasks. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior home care Cleveland, OH, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
4. Brain Atrophy
Sometimes referred to as “brain shrinkage,” brain atrophy occurs when there is 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). Seniors can be more likely to experience brain atrophy after having a stroke, brain infection, traumatic brain injury, or malnutrition. Symptoms of brain atrophy include:
- Cognitive impairments
- 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 Home Care Assistance, a Cleveland at-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. Give us a call today at (440) 332-0170 to hire an expertly trained caregiver.