Tag Archives: Adults

Adults in Later Life With Mental Health Problems

Most older people do not develop mental health problems, but a significant minority have dementia or experience problems such as depression.


It is estimated that 18% of the general population in the UK are of pensionable age and that this figure will grow to 20% by 2025. As a society, we tend to assume that older people will develop mental health problems as a ‘normal’ aspect of ageing. Most older people do not develop mental health problems, although a significant minority does. For example:

about 25% of people over 85 have dementia.
between 10-15% of people over 65 have depression
between 4-23% of older adults seen by medical staff have an alcohol problem.

In addition to those older people who have an identifiable mental illness such as dementia, there are many who experience psychological or emotional distress associated with isolation, loneliness or loss. These problems are not recorded by the health or medical care system.

What problems affect people in later life?


Dementia is a decline in mental ability which affects memory, thinking, problem solving, concentration, perception and behaviour. Some forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, are degenerative. That is, they get worse over time. Other forms of dementia, such as vascular dementia, may be non-degenerative. That is, they may not get worse over time.

People with dementia can become confused. Some people also become restless or display repetitive behaviour. They may also seem irritable, tearful or agitated. This can be very distressing for both the person with dementia and their family and friends. Some people with dementia also develop other problems such as depression, disturbed sleep, aggression, inappropriate sexual behaviour and incontinence, although the latter issues tend to be associated with more advanced dementia.

About one in 20 people over the age of 65 are affected by dementia and this figure rises to one in four people over the age of 85 (Audit Commission, 2000). People under the age of 65 can develop dementia but this is rare and is known as early onset or pre-senile dementia.

What causes dementia?

Dementia occurs as a result of the death of brain cells or damage in parts of the brain that deal with our thought processes and functioning. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. We do not know what causes Alzheimer’s disease but we do know that ageing is the biggest risk factor. The second most common type of dementia is vascular or multi-infarct dementia. This occurs as a result of a series of mini-strokes which constrict blood flow and oxygen to the brain.

Can dementia be prevented and is there a cure?

Most types of dementia cannot be cured but a number of psychological treatments and anti-dementia drugs can be very effective for those in the early stages of dementia. It is therefore very important to get a proper assessment of cognitive function from a medical practitioner as early as possible.

There are no guaranteed ways of preventing dementia, but you may find it helpful to follow a sensible diet and pursue a healthy lifestyle. Regular physical exercise and supplements like Gingko Biloba can help to ensure that there is always a good supply of blood to the brain. Please consult your GP before taking such medication. You can also help yourself by keeping your mind active, for example by doing crosswords or puzzles.


Depression describes a range of moods, from feeling a bit low to a severe problem, which interferes with everyday life and normal functioning. People with severe depression may experience a range of symptoms including low mood, loss of interest and pleasure as well as feelings of worthlessness or guilt.

Depression can affect anyone, of any culture, age or background but it affects proportionally more older people than any other age group. It is estimated that around 10-15% of elderly people in the community exhibit depressive symptoms, with this proportion rising to about 40% of care home residents. That said, you will not necessarily become depressed just because you are getting older.

What causes depression?

There are a number of risk factors that play a role in increasing older people’s vulnerability to depression including:

being widowed, divorced or retired
neurobiological changes associated with ageing
use of medication for other conditions
greater physical impairment and disease
loneliness and isolation
genetic susceptibility, which increases with age.

Can depression be prevented and is there a cure?

Depression in later life is a widely under recognised and under treated medical condition. Up until recently many health professionals – including GP’s – failed to offer the treatments and supports available to other age groups. Most forms of depression can be treated, using medication, talking treatments or other strategies.

It is can be difficult to diagnose depression in older people because it often occurs alongside other mental and physical illnesses, such as dementia, stroke, diabetes and cancer. In addition many older people do not seek help from their GP until they have a number of symptoms. As with dementia, it is important to seek help as early as possible.

Self-help strategies that can help reduce the risk of depression include:

taking regular exercise
planning for critical transitions such as retirement
seeking support from family and friends following the loss of a long-term partner
ensuring that you pursue a range of interests in later life.

Dementia and depression

The relationship between dementia and depression is complex. The symptoms of dementia and depression – including withdrawal from social activities and general apathy – are very similar. An elderly person with severe depression may occasionally be misdiagnosed as having dementia. A person with dementia may also become depressed.

Alcohol abuse

It is estimated that between 4%-23% of older adults seen by medical staff experience problems with alcohol. Figures also show that older men are currently between two and six times more likely than older women to be at risk of abusing alcohol.

Although alcohol abuse is a problem for people of all ages, it is more likely to go unrecognised among older people. Many older people use alcohol to deal with loss or loneliness. Approximately 10-30% of older people who abuse alcohol become depressed. They are also at greater risk of suicide.


Prescribed medications can cause mental health difficulties among older people. A 2001 Department of Health survey found that 79% of older people take prescribed medicines. Many older people take four or more medications at the same time. There are risks associated with taking multiple medications, including confusion.

More detailed information about medication and mental health problems can be found at the following sites:

Other mental health problems

There are a number of rarer mental health problems that affect older people, including delirium, anxiety and late-onset schizophrenia. The prevalence, nature, and course of these disorders are different in older people, as are the treatments that may be offered.

Capacity and older people with mental illness

People with dementia or severe mental illness may have difficulty in making and communicating decisions. Very few people are unable to be involved in making choices at all but some may have partial or fluctuating mental capacity and may need help with communication. Different approaches are also required to engage a person with dementia. They often need longer to make decisions, may need an advocate to speak on their behalf and their mental functioning may also vary by day, and time of day. Family members or carers are often useful sources of information but it is important to take account of the views of the person with dementia alongside those of their carer.

Help for carers

Caring for an older person with mental health problems can be very stressful, time consuming and emotionally and physically challenging. Caring for an older person with dementia is associated with higher levels of stress, with a third of carers suffering from depression.

For free advice on depression or a free consultation visit http://www.clairehegarty.co.uk or ring 0151 678 3358 or 07714853524

Visit http://www.in2town.co.uk for all the latest health news and advice

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Releasing Negativity and Increasing Self Esteem for Teens (and Adults)

Self Esteem is a measurement of the way you feel about yourself. Low self esteem means that you dislike yourself, possibly because of the way you look, the way you act, your environment or because of how you feel. When you have high self esteem, it doesn’t mean that you are stuck up or think that you are better than anyone else. High self esteem really means that you have a good relationship with who you are, and you love and respect yourself, despite your flaws.

Teens naturally go through some very emotional times, partially because their hormones are re-adjusting for adulthood, and partly because they are beginning to experience things from a different perspective. New challenges, new situations and new relationships leave them confused and overwhelmed and can even cause them to withdraw, become fearful and angry. That once carefree and happy child can turn into someone you hardly know.

Adults also can experience moodiness. If we don’t resolve or release emotions successfully when we first experience them, they will take up residence in our minds or bodies and will cause us to feel stressed, anxious and angry, and amplify future emotions and stressful situations.

Part of the problem is that we don’t teach children how to deal with and express emotions. It’s not a class they teach in school, and since many adults have never learned techniques to release emotions constructively, they are simply not in a position to coach their children. This causes strain in relationships and can further affect self esteem – both for the teen and the parents.

Some of the common emotions that teens experience are anxiety, frustration, humiliation, anger and exposure. No matter what has been affecting you or your teen, this simple technique is fast, easy and effective.

First you will want to find a place and time where you won’t be disturbed for a few minutes. You’ll want to be able to focus as much as possible, so eliminate as much distraction as you can.

Now, mentally start making a list of the things that have been bothering you. Listen to your inner mind, listen to your heart. It doesn’t matter if you agree with what comes up, just notice any emotions bubbling under the surface. Close your eyes.

For each issue or emotion, imagine that it fills up your body, then imagine blowing all that emotion into a balloon. Breathe the emotion out of your body, out of your mind. You may notice as you blow the emotion into the balloon, that it changes colors. It may turn brown or black with the energy of that negative emotion. When the balloon is full, imagine tying it off, and let it float up into the sky. Continue filling the balloons, tying them off and letting them float up until you feel complete release. Let yourself feel peaceful.

Then, gaze up at the sky – it’s filled with your negativity, filled with those old balloons. Imagine that they merge together to form a big, black cloud, and know that you have projected all your old, negative feelings into that cloud.

Now, if you can, forgive all the people and circumstances that caused you to have all those negative feelings – forgive everyone involved – even if it’s just a little…forgive them. Realize that holding onto anger and resentment only hurts you.

Forgive yourself. Really look at all the times you’ve made mistakes, been bad, been embarrassed or ashamed…and forgive yourself.

Look up at the sky again, and imagine that the sun comes out. Bright and warm and comforting….it comes out and begins to dissolve that cloud of negativity. Let it be dissolved…just let it go. Let it all go and as the cloud of negativity disappears, feel the warmth of the sun trickle through your body, feeling it bathe each cell with peace and comfort, warmth and love. Let yourself feel loved and accepted. Tell yourself that you are ok.

Now, try to find one thing about yourself that you really appreciate. Maybe you have been kind to someone. Maybe you have a certain talent or skill. Maybe you can appreciate yourself for strength, love of animals, love of people, intelligence, sense of humor, goofiness, spirit…just find something. Take a moment just to appreciate that part of you. You are good. Believe that inside. Just believe it, appreciate yourself for it and accept yourself for it.

You can have fun with this technique – make the balloons different colors, imagine blowing them up so much they pop and splat everywhere – it’s ok to use your imagination…

Using this technique consistently will help you balance out your emotions, release the daily negativity that you come into contact with, and improve your self esteem.

To get an audio recording of this visualization in MP3 format, visit our Self Improvement Warehouse at www.cdonlinewarehouse.com.

Tracey Burchard is a Certified Hypnotist and Success Coach in Central Florida and does sessions by phone and in her office. She has authored and produced a line of audio CDs and MP3s based on the Law of Attraction and Emotive Visualization?. Visit her hypnosis website at http://www.bodymindhypnosis.com.

About Goal Setting For Adults

The process of setting goals for adults is a fantastic thing to do. It allows you to literally take your life into your hands. Now, you write your destiny, and produce the kind of results, you want out of life. In this article you will discover more about goal setting for adults.

In personal development, a major focus always falls into goal setting. The process of goal setting for adults is essential because it allows you to design your own life. Most people find that they are stuck in a rut, and that life seems to always be the same, and never changes.

As someone once said – if you do today, what you did yesterday, then your tomorrow will be like today. This can be a great thing or a bad thing, depending on if you do goal setting for adults!

So, what is goal setting for adults, and how is it different from simply goal setting? Goal setting for adults can be different than simply goal setting, which goal setters of a younger age may do.

You may not want the fast cars, etc. But, you likely want your children to get a good education – if you are a parent; or it maybe to buy a bigger house or even better relationships.

Generally goal setting for adults and generally everyone will fall into these categories:

* Health

* Wealth

* Career or Professional

* Personal Life

* Relationships

* Setting Health Goals For Adults

Health goals become so much more important as we grow older. The average life span of adults is ever increasing, and one of the reasons is because people are having more reasons to live longer.

There is a lot more to do, and see. So, your health becomes a big priority. Make sure you set goals in this area.

* Wealth Goal Setting For Adults

We live in a world where money is an important aspect of life style. Whatever you want to do in life requires wealth. From the home you buy, to all the holidays you can take, is down to your personal level of wealth. This is a place where a lot of goal setters focus on.

* Career or Professional Goal Setting For Adults

Getting more out of your career is more possible, when you set goals. Companies like goal setters. It shows they are self starters, and hope to get more out of life. It also applies if you are in your own business.

* Personal Life Goal Setting For Adults

Setting goals for your personal life can make a lot of difference. For example setting goals for your hobbies, to write a book, to go on holiday to a country you dream of, are all great goals that bring more out of life.

* Setting Relationship Goals For Adults

Relationships are a key to determining our happiness level. So, it is important to set goals in this area, to be able to get the most out of life, with peace, love, and unity, while having respect for all.

Learn more about goal setting for adults at this link. To get my free top 10 goal setting ideas for adults, click this link. Find my goal setting system, that gives you all the worksheets you need to start setting goals www.howtogoalset.info.

Adults Suffering From Low Self Esteem

For adults there are a range of self tests available on the internet that can help us assess our level of self esteem. There are also some for older children which are worded in a way that children will feel comfortable with.

But we can ask some simple questions like…

– Do you feel comfortable trying new things and meeting new people?

– Do you think you are generally liked?

– Do you think you have the respect of your work colleagues?

– Do you feel happy most of the time?

– Do you look forward to new challenges?

– Do you value your own opinion?

If you answer yes to these questions you probably don’t have low self esteem. However if you think you have low self esteem, you might want to find out more.

Sometime it helps just to read about self esteem and think about how feel about what we have read. We may feel that although we don’t have the optimum level of self esteem, we are reasonably self confident and just need to have a bit of a tinker with some of our attitudes and feelings.

For example, an understanding of how our level of self esteem is formed can give us a better feel for our level of esteem. Our experiences with our family and other people as we are growing up will be very instrumental in developing our self esteem.

If we are treated well, kindly and fairly by our parents, teachers and peers, we are more likely to have a healthy level of self esteem. However if we are treated badly, and we believe unfairly, it is more likely that our self esteem will be low. Regular criticism, being told we are useless, stupid etc., being constantly being reminded of our failings. These are likely to damage our self esteem.

Low self esteem can result if we are generally told we are useless or stupid. If we are shouted at, or ignored, or made to feel we are in the way, or not really wanted these attitudes are damaging to self esteem.

On the other hand, if we experience a kind and understanding reaction to an exam failure, or not getting a certain job or onto the netball or football team, we may from an early age understand that one exam failure doesn’t mean we are failures as people.

Supportive and loving parents, and others who keep things in a sensible perspective, will help us develop a good and healthy level of self esteem. These people will want us to feel good about ourselves. They won’t want us to have negative feelings about ourselves, and they won’t want us to be full of ourselves either.

Sadly, many people who suffer from low self esteem find it hard to develop good communication skills. For their children this can be devastating, and serves to pass down to the next generation the same difficulties and concerns they have themselves.

If we can learn from this, we can see that the way those who have hurt us have behaved reflects more on themselves than it does on us. They don’t want to hurt us, but don’t know how to behave differently.

Learning that self esteem is itself a learned behavior is important in helping us to change our view of ourselves. If something is learned, it can often be unlearned.

If we can learn how to value ourselves more fairly, we can influence our future behavior, our future life chances. Perhaps most importantly, we can learn how to behave better with our own children or other youngsters in order to improve their life chances too.

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