That is why people in the environment of the elderly must have alerted to any symptoms that may betray a psychological problem of this type. Some of the signs that may indicate that the oldest is going through a bad situation and needs the help of a psychiatrist are:
Lack of hygiene: when a person stops taking care of themselves, as long as they do not have physical limitations, it is a sign of apathy and possible depressed process.
Unusual, extreme and prolonged tiredness: it is one of the most common symptoms of depression, as well as the usual muscular and headaches.
Lack of interest and apathy: when a person shows little interest in what was previously passionate and has no new hobbies, it is possible that he is going through a depressed process.
Timing imbalances: Although somnolence may arise for many reasons, one of them is nighttime insomnia derived from an anxiety process.
Weight changes: Whether the person earned a lot of weight or if he loses it in a short time, it can indicate that he is going through a bad emotional moment.
How to encourage the elderly to see a psychologist
One of the great barriers that separate the older adult from the psychologist is the stigma created around this health professional that many still think that only serves crazy people. A myth still rooted in many sectors of our society, and sometimes even more among the elderly.
There is still a lot of rejection at the time of going to the psychiatrist's office because it is assumed as a sign of weakness; There are many cases, especially among older men, who prefer to have a bad time and hide it, than to recognize that they have a problem and need help.
The worst of this situation is that a psychological assistance in very few cases results to “cure without drugs”. On the contrary, it gets worse and can become a chronic disease that needs to be treated with drugs.
Therefore, when a family member, friend or caregiver is aware that the older person needs psychological therapy, but is the recipient to take the step, he or she can be encouraged and helped to contact a psychologist in different ways:
- Make him see that the psychiatrist is a health professional more as is the dentist, the physiotherapist or a nurse, and the only thing he will do is help you improve your health, and not assess or judge your situation.
- Although the therapy will be done by himself, he can be accommodated to the first appointment to talk with the professional and tell him about his case. Taking the first step with a person you trust brings security and peace of mind.
- It is important to erase from your mind the idea that the psychiatrist only attends to patients with serious psychological problems. For this, you can give examples of people from their environment, of any age, who have seen the need to go to solve a problem not necessarily seriously and obtaining great results. If you are aware that anyone may need therapy, it will be easier for you to absorb that he or she may need it, too.
- If in your environment; there is a person who has gone to a psychologist, you may be asked to speak with him or even the person who companies have him on the first appointment to meet the professional. It will be easier for you to go to one that shows confidence because you have helped someone close to you than to ask for an appointment with a stranger.
- In the case that the older one needs to go to the psychologist as a result of suffering from a disease, he can previously go to an association of patients with said pathology. There, in addition to being able to facilitate the contact of a psychologist, you can meet other people who are in your situation and who have benefited from psychological therapy.
- The same case can be applied to caregivers or family members of a sick person who may need rest, relief or psychological advice since often they put the care of the patient before their charge rather than their own discomfort.
In all these cases, and knowing the family member or person affected by this type of warning signs, the idea is to try to approach him, speak with frankness and affection and offer your support.