Frequent disorders

Brain disorders / Alzheimer / Dementia

Dementia affects more than 8% of the population over 60 years. The demographic shift leads to a doubling of absolute numbers in the next 30 years. Although cure is limited, there are many possibilities to help the patients and their caregivers. Early recognition is crucial.

Typical reasons to seek help can be:

  1. You fear to have Alzheimer’s.
  2. You notice a progressive loss of memory during the last weeks or months.
  3. You avoid company not to annoy others.
  4. Activities of daily living cause more and more problems.
  5. Your partner feels considerably burdened.

Depression, grief and burnout

Depressive symptoms are frequent and affect up to 20% of the elderly population. Comorbidity with somatic diseases, sleep disorders or pain occurs often. In spite of – generally – good response to adequate treatment, the elderly often do not consult or find psychotherapists.

Grief is a relevant topic when growing old. Coping with losses is no disease per se, however the risk for a disease e.g. depression is increased.  It makes sense to take care of grief in a sensible way.

Burnout is discussed widely in these days. However, not every state of exhaustion is a disease. Nevertheless the risk for depression and suicide is increased. This is an important reason to treat and prevent burnout.

Typical reasons to seek help can be:

  1. It is increasingly difficult for you to get excited about things.
  2. Your performance has been decreasing.
  3. You think about death or suicide.
  4. You have lost weight without reason.
  5. You suffer from sleep problems.

Fear, Anxiety

Up to 10% of the elderly suffer from relevant anxiety disorder. Most of them experienced symptoms in the past. Anxiety and depression frequently occur together.

A special phenomenon is fear of falling. Against common assumptions is not only the result of a fall, however indicating an increased risk for falling.

Fear and anxiety may be appropriate, depending e.g. from physical health or the environment.

There is no doubt, that anxiety becomes chronic if it is not adequately treated.

Typical reasons to seek help can be:

  1. You are withdrawing from your (previous) social life.
  2. You are irritated and/or sleepless.
  3. Your friends and family or your family physician regard your anxiety as inadequate.

Sleep disorders

About every second old person does not sleep as well as he or she would like to. If sleep disturbances persist , an undiagnosed mental disorder might be the reason. Many elderly sleep only with the help of drugs.

However, much could be done: Analysis of underlying problems, information about „normal sleep“ and the promotion of it. A lot is possible without drugs!

Typical reasons to seek help can be:

  1. You need more than 1 hour to fall asleep.
  2. You wake up without having recovered.
  3.  You want to sleep well (again) without drugs.