Addressing Mental Health in Seniors

Mental Health in Seniors

Mental health in seniors can significantly obstruct them from fulfilling everyday activities, including Activities of Daily Living (ADL). Some of the first noticeable signs of mental health challenges is an increase in slowness and forgetfulness.

There are various reasons for why mental health problems can increase with aging. Such reasons may include biological and psychological changes that cause difficulties with information processing, to social and behavioral changes that are related to children leaving home.

Unfortunately, these mental health problems are very frequently undiagnosed, and are not realized until they progress into a more serious and impairing condition. These issues develop with aging and the problems can be more serious than anticipated. Many older people especially tend to suffer when they may not have the right help or resources, or if they do not have any help at all. We believe that it is essential to accurately diagnose our seniors so that we may provide the proper care and guidance for any challenges that may arise.

In the next few paragraphs, we will talk about some common mental health problems and discuss how to maintain great mental health.


The most common health problem in the elderly is depression.

Depression symptoms found among senior citizens can be very similar to those found among younger people, such as low energy, somber or unhappy mood, self-blame, guilt, poor sleep, and the most important symptom is the lack of motivation and interest in a social life or hobbies.

Another important symptom of depression is Anxiety. Anxiety is a warning signal for various other mental health conditions, including depression, especially among the elderly. Anxiety may include irritability, restlessness, agitation, and great nervousness about the future ahead.

Confusion or forgetfulness is also a common concern, and can be difficult for older people. As a result, there is special care that our caregivers provide our Baxter community members who reside in our memory care units at our senior living in Anchorage Alaska .

Treatment: Generally, depression treatment for our Alaska seniors may include a combination of antidepressant drugs and “talking treatments”. However, experts at Assisted Living in Anchorage AK believe in the importance of social stimulation and prefer to socially support our senior citizens. Our caregivers are always available 24-7 for social support and we host a variety of residential activities and excursions.


Anxiety is often a sign of depression, and can relate to physical symptoms, such as pain and dizziness. Accompanied with depression or dementia, anxiety can disrupt the lives of elder people. Despite the fear that is a normal emotion, anxiety sometimes becomes out of control, and prevents our seniors from being able to perform daily activities that we may otherwise often take for granted.

As with all other mental health conditions, a mental health condition can only be diagnosed by a certified psychiatrist or psychologist, and is based on patterns of behavior. Some common symptoms of anxiety may include:

  • Feeling nervousness, restlessness, or tension
  • Feeling in a state of danger or doom
  • Increased heart rate without any prevalent reasons
  • Rapidly breathing and sweating
  • Trembling or shivering
  • Difficulty thinking clearly due to excessive worry
  • Inability to sleep
  • Disturbing facial expressions
  • Inability to feel truly happy and to enjoy life activities
  • Deliberately avoiding triggers of anxiety
  • Becoming excessively upset about minor issues

Treatment:  Drug treatments and therapies can be very useful and help elder people cope and learn to react to their feelings differently. At Baxter Senior Living Anchorage, we consider that anxiety can be treated on a moderate level by giving care and love. We understand that our seniors may consider themselves to be neglected and left alone, so by assisting them properly in an Anchorage assisted living facility, we believe they can feel much better.

Alzheimer’s Disease

This mental health disease causes the development of protein “plaques” and “tangles” with the brain, causing the death of brain cells. That means that this type of dementia can create challenges with memory, thinking,  and behavior. The symptoms develop slowly and can progress and become more severe over time.

Here are a few of many symptoms related to Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Loss of cognitive functioning (e.g., memory loss)
  • Difficulty with understanding and solving problems
  • Trouble with finishing familiar tasks
  • Inability to recall time, date, and place
  • The loss of vision
  • Problematic speech (e.g., trouble explaining thoughts)
  • Frequently misplacing objects and belongings
  • Inability to make easy decisions
  • Wandering and forgetfulness
  • Mood swings (e.g., being anxious or experiencing lack of interest)
  • Forgetting conversations or recent events
  • Coordination challenges (e.g., difficulty with writing)
  • Inability to engage in and perform instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) and activities of daily life (ADLs)
  • Experiencing difficulty with driving (e.g., forgetting familiar routes or getting lost on roads)


Treatment: There is currently not a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there are some available treatment and coping mechanisms to help improve the mood of the seniors. Researchers continue to study about this disease and how to prevent it from further developing, and make strides towards identifying better ways to treat this mental health problem.

Our community members with Alzheimer’s disease reside in our special Memory care units where trained professionals assist seniors with appropriately managing their cognitive deficits.

Dementia in the elderly

The term “dementia describes a group of related symptoms or syndromes that tend to increase with aging. As our cognitive abilities decline with age, researchers have found that over 20% of those above 85 years of age have dementia. There are more than 100 different types of dementia that sure can be treated, but many do not yet have a cure.

Vascular dementia

Vascular dementia is the second common health concern. The most common symptoms of vascular dementia are the slower speed of thought, problems concentrating, problems with organizing and planning, and unfortunately many more.

Treatment: Those with vascular dementia should have a more healthy life, quit smoking (if they smoke), and start eating healthier with more nutritious diets. They will be advised to take treatment that includes tablets that reduce blood pressure, prevent lower cholesterol, and prevent blood clots.  

How Baxter Helps Our Seniors Become More Mental Health Aware

We understand that mental health challenges can be very difficult, not only for the elder people but also for their caregivers and those that surround them. We believe it is important to be aware about mental health to ensure that the proper treatment and care can be provided.

In addition to our special memory care units, we offer food services, companion care, support with care planning and medication management, and a variety of other services can improve the stability of elder people and their memory care. We can provide dementia care and special treatments for every senior citizen of Alaska with customized plans created by our trained care staff.

We strive to help our community members feel more supported and comfortable, and to provide a helping hand as they successfully overcome the challenges with dementia and other mental health concerns. We strive to support our seniors to have an improved quality of life and to encourage their optimum functioning.

As the best Anchorage assisted living community, there are a few factors that we would like to share with you to help overcome these mental health concerns, especially during this wondrous winter:

  • Be alert. If you notice something off or unusual then speak up and get it checked out immediately.
  • Learn the diagnosis as soon as possible to ensure you provide the proper care.
  • Communicate with your elderly loved one about their feelings, concerns, and mental health status.
  • Try to speak more slowly and frequently remind your loved one about how much you care about them.
  • Encourage and remind your loved one about daily activities, such as how to dress, go to the bathroom, maintain proper hygiene, eat healthy, and the importance of being motivated and getting out of the bed.
  • Talk with an expert to find out what is the best way to help your loved one.

Contact our assisted living senior advisor to discuss strategies to help ensure you are providing the best care for your elderly loved ones. We care as much about your loved one as you do, and we are here to help make your loved one’s life even better.



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