Age-Related Psychological and Cognitive Problems in the Elderly
Countries with populations over the age of 65 have been increasing in the last ten years and will continue their trajectory for another 20 years. This was brought about by the increase in life expectancy in these countries and the baby boom after World War II.
According to a study from the University of Calicut, starting the year 2030, we will see an increase in adults over the age of 85 increase at high speeds. The same source also stated that the number of adults over the age of 80 would triple compared to numbers gathered in 2015. There are also countries whose populations are aging faster than the others, filling their demography with elders.
This makes public health awareness for people with old age a prime need. Cities are doing so by making the resources tapped by the elderly more accessible to people of the age group. There are also care providers improving their services and multiplying to serve the aging populations.
The need for awareness is posed by the number of diseases and clinical implications that come with old age. People of old age are more prone to physical and psychological ailments compared to younger people.
To give more awareness of the most persistent psychological and cognitive problems found in the old population, here are three of the most known ones:
- Cognitive Aging
Cognitive aging is identified through the elderly experiencing problems finding the right words to express their thoughts, processing information, and mild short-term memory loss. These are normal stages experienced by people starting the age of 85.
The aging of their brain puts them at risk when it comes to activities that require fast-paced thought processing and reactions such as driving and in financial situations. This puts people of the age population at risk for physical and social dangers.
However, as people age, not all of their brains’ functions age along with them. It’s well-known that wisdom and knowledge come with age, earning the aging population respect from their communities. Feelings of empathy and altruism are also found to increase along with their age.
Dementia rates are proven to increase with age. Today, the death rates from cardiovascular diseases are lower compared to deaths from Alzheimer’s disease. This is partly due to some people with dementia being unable to afford the care they need, such as memory care services.
The high death rates can also be attributed to some people with the disease unaware that they have it. It may be due to them being at the early stages of the disease, or they’re living all by themselves.
Dementia causes death through safety hazards. A person with dementia may be unable to care for themselves and their surroundings properly. An elderly with dementia can die from the disease within an average of four and a half years.
Depression is not a normal situation that comes with old age. It can be caused by past life events, and in response, an older adult may react with feelings of grief. The past situation could be retirement, loss of some of their physical, social, and cognitive skills from old age or illness, and many others.
It has been found that major depression is prevalent during adulthood but decrease after the age of 60, then rise again after a person goes over 80 years of age. Depression is found to be more common in older people under care facilities with illness or disabilities.
Approaches are kept mum to avoid escalation, help in recovery, and prevent suicide. In America, white men of 85 years of age are found to be common.