Top Misconceptions Related to Elderly Mental Health

By 6  am on


Seniors in movies and on television are often portrayed as being forgetful, angry, or isolated. These portrayals can lead viewers to believe these things are a normal part of aging, but nothing is further from the truth. Learn the reality behind these common myths and see how they may affect your senior loved one’s care. 

Memory Loss Is an Inevitable Part of Growing Older

Seniors who forget important dates or where they’ve placed items often think their memory lapses are due to their age. Memory loss isn’t a normal part of healthy aging. It’s normal to occasionally forget things. However, it isn’t normal to have memory loss that interferes with daily living. Memory loss that’s severe may be a sign of dementia.

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 Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of elderly home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Seniors Want to Be Left Alone

This is another myth often portrayed incorrectly in the media: the grumpy senior neighbor who pulls away from family and friends and wants to be left alone. People have different personalities and tolerances. It isn’t normal for your loved one who used to enjoy being with family and friends to suddenly withdraw from others. This could be a sign of dementia, anxiety, or depression. 

Depression Is a Part of Aging

There are many difficult situations your loved one may face that could lead to periodic episodes of depression or sadness. It’s okay for your loved one to feel sad and talk about feeling depressed—this can be very healthy. However, it isn’t normal for your loved one to have depression. Clinical depression is a serious, prolonged feeling of sadness, dejection, and/or grief. Some signs include apathy, changes in weight, lack of motivation, and difficulty sleeping. Depression in seniors may occur after: 

  • Losing a spouse, family member, or close friend
  • Beginning retirement
  • Taking a new medication
  • Being diagnosed with a medical condition

If you notice symptoms of depression in your loved one, encourage him or her to talk to a professional. There are many treatment options that can help your loved one feel better. 

One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide senior care. Reston families can turn to Assisting Hands Home Care for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care Reston for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties.

Addiction Is a Young Person’s Disease

Substance abuse is a growing problem among people around the world. However, the signs of substance abuse in seniors are often not recognized. In reality, almost three million seniors in the United States have a problem with addiction or substance abuse, and 11 percent of all senior hospitalizations are due to substance abuse. Addiction and substance abuse can be addressed with medical and psychological treatment. 

Senior Are Too Stuck in Their Ways to Get Help

Views about diagnosing and treating mental illnesses are slowly shifting as more is learned about the brain. This doesn’t mean your loved one will be forthright about mental health problems he or she is experiencing. Seniors tend to downplay mental health problems and emphasize their physical issues. This can make diagnosing and treating mental health issues more difficult but not impossible. Psychologists and psychiatrists who specialize in geriatric care may be able to help. 

Caring for a senior loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming for family caregivers who have other responsibilities they need to focus on. For these families, the perfect solution is at-home care. Reston families rely on our caregivers whenever they need time to rest, work, run errands, and even go on vacation. If you need professional home care for your aging loved one, our Care Managers are just a phone call away. Reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care today at 703-556-8983.