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Geriatric Psychological Conditions

What are Geriatric Psychological Issues?

Geriatric psychological issues are mental health problems that arise late in life or issues that were not previously diagnosed during youth or young adulthood. These issues can range from age-related mental health disorders, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease to more general diagnoses such as depression or anxiety. Common signs of possible geriatric psychological issues include depression lasting for periods longer than two weeks, isolation, loss of interest in formerly enjoyable activities, loss of energy, difficulty focusing, poor memory, confusion, loss of appetite, unexplained physical discomfort such as diarrhea or achiness, changes in appearance or clothing, difficulty maintaining their home or yard, and feelings of hopelessness, guilt, or worthlessness.

What are the causes of Geriatric Psychological Issues?

There is no one cause for geriatric psychological issues, but a variety of factors can contribute. Death of family and friends, transitions such as moving into assisted living, loss or reduction of bodily functions, dementia or impairment of cognitive functioning, and increased dependency on others can all lead to geriatric psychological issues.

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What is the prognosis for Geriatric Psychological Issues?

One of the most difficult elements of treating geriatric psychological issues is that they are rarely reported. However, once diagnosed, participation in psychotherapy can help alleviate some symptoms. Geriatric psychotherapy does not differ significantly from psychotherapy in younger patients. However, geriatric psychotherapy is most successful when patients are offered an individualized and flexible curriculum that emphasizes challenges associated with ageing. One major focus is self-esteem. The therapist attempts to identify how their patient maintains their self-esteem in the face of biopsychosocial losses that come with ageing, then helps with bolstering these coping strategies. The goal of this approach is to rebuild a positive sense-of-self.

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