post3 - 10 Symptoms to Check if an Elder Has Mental Illness

10 Symptoms to Check if an Elder Has Mental Illness

When adults age, normally, they will become forgetful because their brain is not that active enough to take in all the information. However, do not confuse aging with mental illness. Here are some of the symptoms to check if your elders are experiencing mental illness.


Oftentimes, older adults feel happy seeing their grandchildren and even experiencing simple things. However, if an elder suffers from series of sadness, it can be a symptom of a mental illness. If this happens, ask them why they are feeling sad. If ever they are hesitant to answer, bring them to recreational parks or any happy places. However, if sadness lasts more than two weeks, consult a specialist.

Social Withdrawal

Elders with mental illness often times do not want to engage with friends or families. They lose their interest over enjoyable things. They sometimes insist not to attend a particular social event. Again, ask their reasons.

Constant Energy Loss

This may be normal if one is aging, however if there is an unexplained fatigue, it is better to consult a doctor immediately to identify its underlying cause. Elders with mental illness have constant energy loss and changes in their sleep rhythms.

Mood shift

Mood shifts are important factors to determine mental illness. Some of them get angry without valid reasons. They even turn violent because of their anger. You may find them laughing at this time, however in the later part, crying. With this unexplained mood shift, check out the doctor.


If an older adult is experiencing disorientation and problems with concentration and decision-making, he or she might have a mental disorder. Most especially, if the older adult is feeling confused as if there is something bugging his or her mind, take him or her to the doctor.

Changes in Appetite

Apart from changes in mood, they also have changes in appetite. Mental illness allows the mind of the older adult not to think about how much and how less he or she should eat. If ever there is a series of increase then decrease and vice versa of appetite, see the doctor.

Memory Loss

Aging naturally causes regular forgetfulness among older adults. However, if the memory loss is persistent, this is not normal. It may be identified if the elder asks the same questions every now and then. Some of them will also not remember your name. Immediately see the doctor if this happens.

Suicidal thoughts

If depression takes them, they will have series of suicidal thoughts. They will experience the feeling of worthlessness, helplessness and inappropriate guilt. They will even address it to you that they want to die as they do not have a purpose anymore in this world or they are already tired. This is not normal for aging adults.

Problem with numbers

If they have trouble working with simple math like 1+3 or 3 x 4, it means they are becoming forgetful. This is also a way to assess a persistent memory loss. You can also watch them how they manage money or finances.

Change in style

People usually have their distinct styles on how they dress. However, if you feel that there is a sudden shift in the way your elders dress, it may mean a mental illness. Moreover, sometimes they will forget to wear their underwear or often confuse how to use a particular thing.

The symptoms may vary from elder to elder. It is always advisable to see a doctor to assess the condition of your loved ones.