Richa Madaan

Richa Madaan

Mental Health Issues in Seniors: Types And Coping Strategies

  Mar 30, 2024
Reviewed by Ayushi Jain

With rapid aging in the population. In 2015, the proportion of over 60 years is 12%, and mental health issues among seniors account for 6.6% of the total disability. However, the mental well-being of seniors is a matter of concern. 

People in their 60s or above face many challenges. Those challenges may impact their psychological well-being. So, it is necessary to comprehend the issues they are struggling with and overlook an effective coping strategy to support them in their tough times. 

Common Mental Health Issues in Seniors

It is probable to suffer from mental health challenges as you grow. Here are a few most prevalent mental health issues faced by elders are:


Depression Statistics

With the hike in numbers, “Depression” is most prevalent in aging individuals. To get out of this, the foremost thing to understand is the signs and symptoms of this condition. Although, depression can manifest in different forms. 

Hear This 👂: You are not alone, the very-know Lady Gaga “Paparazzi” and “Poker Face” dealt with both depression and anxiety. In her interview with Billboard Magazine she said “If we share our stories and stick together, we’re stronger”.

The common signs to detect are loss of interest or pleasure, making excuses or lying, engaging in risky behavior, etc. Whereas, numerous medical facilities are available in your location for its treatment, such as Alvarado Parkway, which depends on the severity and type of depression.

Anxiety Disorders

Being the most common mental condition, anxiety affects individuals of all ages. It is basically an emotion experienced at one point or another. But, excessive and persistent anxiety interferes with daily life. Evaluating the root cause by eyes on symptoms can result in early detection. 

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Most common among seniors are generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, phobic disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It’s important to hear that seniors are more prone to welcome any sort of disorder because their body undergoes age-related changes or brain chemistry changes. 

Cognitive Disorders

Long-term cognitive decline

Cognitive disorders affected 16 million beings in the US (data includes both young fellows and elders). The after-effects of cognitive disorders make things for affected individuals worst. As it disrupts their decision-making ability, unable to remember information, etc. It typically ranges from mild sensory problems to more severe forms like dementia and Alzheimer’s. 

Substance Abuse and Addiction

Substance Abuse And Addiction

The most common yet serious problems amongst older beings are Substance abuse and addiction. Data reveals alcohol is the most abused substance by people with significant implications. However, other substances like opioids, benzodiazepines, marijuana, and cocaine are also abused by them. 

DID YOU KNOW? 🤔: Harry Potter 🧹 star “Daniel Radcliffe” accepted that he drank a lot while filming the last three Potter films. 

By optimizing roots, you can figure out the factors that contributed to this area are loneliness, depression, chronic pain or illness, peer pressure, stress, low income or poverty level status, exposure to drugs, and social support networks.

Mental disorders are molded by a range of age-related factors. Recognizing the earliest is important for effectively supporting and addressing the needs of the population with similar disorders.

Biological Changes and Brain Health

Studies reveal as a human grows, the brain decreases its size and white matter lesions increase. This can lead to a decrease in cognitive ability. Biological approaches to understanding psychopathology through genetics and neuroscience are promising tools. However, reduced white matter lesions cause disruption between different regions of the brain. 

Furthermore, the decline of certain hormones with aging affects cognitive abilities.  Such as memory, concentration, reasoning skills, language processing, and decision-making. 

Social Isolation and Loneliness

Due to limited mobility, reduced networks, and happenings in close circle elders develops a feeling of loneliness which eventually causes depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, and increased risk of heart disease and stroke. To make life harder to live, social isolation and loneliness weaken immune system functioning, disbalances sleeping patterns, etc. 

To get out of this, the only solution left is to remain socially connected, collect memories with the family, and get emotional support from them. 

Loss of Independence and Role Changes

Another factor could be the lost independence and changed roles. These can badly affect them as they transmit into their later life stages. The psychological changes can manifest in different ways like depression anxiety, fear, or guilt. 

These feelings generally occur due to limitations. Limitations prevent them from engaging in activities like before. It seems hard for them to accept the need to rely on others for help in performing basic tasks like bathing, cooking shopping, playing with grand children, and many more. 

Physical Health Conditions and Chronic Pain

Physical health conditions combined with chronic pain are continuously affecting the quality of life. Due to physical limitations and mobility issues, elders face a decrease in social activity and this further limits their ability to cope with stress. 

That scenario can be hard for them to live in. And, chronic pain can get worst to manage by acquiring appropriate treatment and support for their close ones. 

Grief and Bereavement

Grief and Bereavement is an emotionally challenging situations. This might be because their contemporaries have died or are dying or leaving them forever. 

Gries comprises irritability, deep sadness, and difficulty in practicing acceptance of undergoing loss, whereas Bereavement is the reaction to the loss. These terms are used interchangeably.  

Coping Strategies for Mental Health Issues in Seniors

In the phase of cognitive issues, coping strategies to cater needs and circumstances of seniors are:

Seeking Professional Help

Seeking professional help early can make a big difference. But, how do know you your early stage? The early stage can be considered when developing unwanted thoughts, struggling with life’s painful challenges, alcohol or drugs interfering, getting confused, or fraught with emotions, and lastly when you feel life is no longer worth living, 

Mental health professionals like Psychologist, Psychotherapy, Psychiatrist, Mental health counselor, Counseling Psychology, and Psychotherapist can provide evidence-based treatments. They are trained to evaluate varied disorders like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, dementia, and more.

Medication and Therapy Options

Medication and therapy are two different yet common approaches, with each delivering unique benefits. For example, psychotropic medications treat symptoms of depression, anxiety, etc. Their collaboration with other treatments like psychotherapy or counseling works wonders. For instance, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) identifies the patterns of thinking and behavior.  

Lifestyle Modifications

As slight changes can make big differences, similarly, making lifestyle modifications can contribute and add value to the lifestyle. Research suggests that a healthy diet, regular physical activity, and an adequate amount of sleep are essential factors for healthy mental well-being. 

The World Health Organization believes that “A healthy diet is a foundation for health, well-being, optimal growth, and development”.

Social Support and Community Engagement

Social support and engagement in meaningful community activities can build a sense of connectedness and adds purpose to the lives of seniors. People with mental disorders are at risk of experiencing obstructions to gatherings and cultural engagements due to social anxiety. Support of any sort helps in recovery, helps symptom management, and increases social connections with 


The mental health of seniors is not a matter of ignorance as they navigate the unique challenges of aging. By detecting issues like depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, and substance abuse, one can help them with great suffering. Withing nurtured environment they can enjoy their golden years with great mental well-being.