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Module Six MENTAL DISORDERS IN ELDERS. Lesson 1 : Elders’ experiences Lesson 2: Mental Disorders in elders. Lesson 1. ELDERS’ EXPERIENCES. Step 1 : Introduction.

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module six mental disorders in elders
  • Lesson 1: Elders’ experiences
  • Lesson 2: Mental Disorders in elders
lesson 1
Lesson 1


step 1 introduction
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 :

  • have good physical health.
  • Social support.
  • Keep the patient active.
  • Be focused in entertaining activities.
  • Maintainingfamily and other close relationships.
step 2 brainstorming and discussion
Step 2: Brainstorming and discussion
  • What are your feelings when thinking of yourself old?
  • What are the positive and the negative points ?
step 3 theory presentation
Step 3: Theory presentation

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.

step 3 continued
Step 3 (continued)

Even though in many cases the symptoms of mental disorders become milder, the difficulties become harder. This is due to the fact that:

  • These persons apart from the chronic mental disorder, are also influenced from other problems of elders.
  • They might have lost because of the long-lastingterm of the disease and the hospitalization the ability to understand and proceed to the necessary adjustments for elderly.
  • Very often, while their needs are more demanding, they have already over passed all limits of their family support.
step 3 continued1
Step 3 (continued)

As a result to these, they need special attention which includes:

  • Taking care of their physical health.
  • Observation of their mental disorder.
  • Support for the family that looks after the person.
  • Eventually a place to stay (hostel, house for the elderly).
  • Day occupation (Day Care center).
  • Maintenance if possible of their abilities, especially those that help them looking after themselves.
  • Maintenance of their social activity.
step 4 slide projection
Step 4: slide projection

Slide 6.1.1: The most important transition points during people’s lifetime

  • Graduation
  • First job
  • Marriage
  • Children’s birth
  • Promotion
  • Retirement
  • Parents’ death
  • Wife’s / husband’s death
lesson 2


step 1 introduction1
Step 1: Introduction

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.

step 2 slide projection
Step 2: Slide projection

Slide 6.2.1: Mental Disorders appeared in elderly

% appearance at persons >65 years old

Senile dementia 3.5

Depression 11

Paranoid psychoses 0.3

Neuroses 28

Personality Disorders

step 3 theory presentation1
Step 3: Theory presentation


  • Is quite regularly manifested in elderly (one in ten persons aged more than 65).
  • Factors as social isolation, manifestation of physical disease, the loss of loved ones and the lack of satisfaction in life play an important role to its manifestation.
step 3 continued2
Step 3 (continued)

It might not be manifested with no obvious sadness, but with atypical symptoms such as :

  • Uneasiness and anxiety
  • Behavioral change
  • Neglecting oneself
  • Physical disturbances
  • Guilt
  • Apathy
  • Unable to concentrate
  • Memory loss
  • Insomnia
  • Odd or aberrant ideas

Suicide is a major risk especially for socially isolated men.

step 3 continued3
Step 3 (continued)

Therapeutical intervention includes:

  • Hospitalisation in many cases
  • Care of physical health
  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotic medication where there are psychotic characteristics
  • Social intervention
step 3 continued4
Step 3 (continued)

Paranoid psychosis

  • The manifestation of psychosis like Paranoid Schizophrenia is quite usual in elderly.
  • It really often in elders with hear impaired of vision problems.
  • Sometimes many stressful events are anticipated.
  • The symptoms are usually characterized by odd aberrant ideas.
  • The majority of these patients appear as Depressive.
  • In most of the cases hospitalization and antipsychotic medication is necessary for their treatment.
step 3 continued5
Step 3 (continued)

Senile dementias

  • This term includes Alzheimer disease as well as, MID (multi infract dementia) and other types of senile diseases ( alcoholic, Huntington, Creutzfeldt-Jacob, Pick disease etc.).
  • Half of the elderly population suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.
  • For every man there are two women that suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The causes of the Alzheimer disease are unknown but there are suspicions for genetic, environmental, toxic and infectious factors.
step 3 continued6
Step 3 (continued)

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.

step 3 continued7
Step 3 (continued)

slide 6.2.2: dementia characteristics.

  • Memory loss
  • Cognitive loss
  • Talking problems
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Loss of skills
  • Behaviour and personality alterations
step 3 continued8
Step 3 (continued)

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).

step 3 continued9
Step 3 (continued)

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.

step 3 continued10
Step 3 (continued)
  • Multi infarction dementia (MID) Multi infarction dementia is caused by multiple small emboli in the brain and the occurring necrosis.
  • It starts acutely and progresses gradually.
  • It progresses slower than Alzheimer disease.
  • In most cases it is accompanied by hypertension.
step 4 slide projection1
Step 4: Slide projection

Slide 6.2.3: general principles of treating elders with psychiatric problems

  • Early and total diagnose of medical and social factors.
  • Stay of the patient in his home for as long as possible.
  • Support of the family so that their able to keep looking after the patient.
  • Visits by social worker and health visitor, offer of economical and practical help and patients attendance to Day Care centers.
step 4 continued
Step 4 (continued)
  • Hospitalization and short stay in the hospital when necessary.
  • Care of physical health.
  • Accurate use of medication prescription.
  • Psychotherapeutical approach of the patients insisting in support and encouragement, as well as cognitive – behavioral approach.
  • Development of Psychiatric Services for elders and scientific approach from the therapeutical group.