Warning Signs of Mental Health Issues in Older Adults

Many older adults are at risk for mental health problems even though research on the “U-shaped happiness curve” indicates happiness increases yearly over age 50.  Many older adults, faced with the death of a loved one, isolation, loss of focus in retirement, or serious illness, are stressed or sad.  Many adjust over time, but some do not and experience depression and anxiety.   We all must watch for warning signs in ourselves and others as we age so helpful resources can be mobilized when necessary.

“Some of the warning signs of mental disorders in older adults include:

  • Changes in mood or energy level
  • A change in eating or sleeping habits
  • Withdrawing from the people and activities
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, angry, upset, worried, or scared
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling sadness or hopelessness
  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
  • Anger, irritability, or aggressiveness
  • Having thoughts and memories that you can’t get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others.” 

(Medline Plus Older Adult Mental Health)

If you or anyone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, dial 9-8-8 to help.