Module Six MENTAL DISORDERS IN ELDERS. Lesson 1 : Elders’ experiences Lesson 2: Mental Disorders in elders. Lesson 1. ELDERS’ EXPERIENCES. Step 1 : Introduction.
Passing to the elder age for every person is related to the complicated interaction of biological, psychological and social factors. People differ a lot from each other in the way they deal with this transition.
It is important to :
People that suffered for many years from severe chronic mental disorders have usually very different experiences in their life.
The impact of passing to the elder age might be really different for them.
Even though in many cases the symptoms of mental disorders become milder, the difficulties become harder. This is due to the fact that:
As a result to these, they need special attention which includes:
Slide 6.1.1: The most important transition points during people’s lifetime
MENTAL DISORDERS IN ELDERLY
During the last 100 years, human’s life span has increased and as a consequence the elderly population has increased. In western Europe at the beginning of the 20th century only 5% of the population was over 65 years old, while at the end of this century the number came up to 15-20% . Actually, one third of these people are more than 75 years old. A further increase is expected in the 21st century. The rising age of the population creates a serious problem related to the looking after of these people, as it is more likely they suffer from various disorders and disabilities.
Slide 6.2.1: Mental Disorders appeared in elderly
% appearance at persons >65 years old
Senile dementia 3.5
Paranoid psychoses 0.3
It might not be manifested with no obvious sadness, but with atypical symptoms such as :
Suicide is a major risk especially for socially isolated men.
Therapeutical intervention includes:
There are characteristic deteriorations of the brain outer surface.
·Multi infarct dementia is due to many little blood clots that cause ischaemia and necrosis in several areas of the brain.
·It has abrupt onset and escalating recrudescence.
·It develops slower than Alzheimer disease.
·In many cases the patient also suffers from hypertension.
slide 6.2.2: dementia characteristics.
There are three steps of progress. During the first there is just memory disturbance, during the second general loss of cognitive function takes place and during the third neurologic signs and double incontinence (urine and excrement).
The treatment includes family support, patient’s support in order to maintain his / her abilities and a series of daily activities, prescription of special medication (like Tacrine), especially during the early stages for delaying the progress of the disease.
Slide 6.2.3: general principles of treating elders with psychiatric problems