Post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a mental health condition that can affect people who have been through a traumatic situation. Many people associate it with veterans who have been to war. Around 8 percent of people experience PTSD symptoms at some point during their lives. People who have served in the military have a higher prevalence of up to 17 percent. As people age, new symptoms of PTSD can appear, or symptoms can change. Understanding how aging affects PTSD can make it easier to assist your aging relative.
How Age Affects PTSD
As people age, there are several factors that can affect PTSD symptoms. Some of them are:
- Retirement: When a person retires, they often have more time to think about traumatic events that have occurred. Because they no longer work, they have fewer distractions from negative thoughts and feelings.
- Stress: Stress brought on by changes that come with age can make PTSD worse. Some things that might cause stress in an older adult are health conditions, losing a spouse or other loved ones, having less income, and being isolated.
- Media: In today’s world, it can be hard to get away from media coverage of terrible events going on in the world. Media coverage of wars or other tragedies may trigger flashbacks.
Recognizing PTSD in Seniors
Identifying PTSD in older adults can be difficult because the symptoms may not manifest in the same way they do for younger people. For example, a younger person is more likely to feel depressed or guilty while an older adult is more likely to have trouble sleeping or remembering things. Some of the symptoms of PTSD in seniors might also be mistaken simply for aging, such as:
- Trouble with concentration.
- High blood pressure.
- Trouble getting to sleep or remaining asleep.
- Mood changes, such as irritability.
One of the ways that seniors often deal with PTSD is through avoidance. They may try to stay away from people and places that remind them of the traumatic event. They might also stop engaging in activities they once enjoyed. This can lead to isolation, which can put their physical and mental health at risk.
Hiring a senior care provider through an agency can help to prevent social isolation in older adults. Senior care providers are, themselves, a point of social contact. In addition, a senior care provider can encourage an older adult to remain social engaged by driving them to activities. Senior care providers can also assist older adults to entertain guests in their home by helping them keep the house tidy and preparing refreshments.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering senior care in Mt. Laurel, NJ, please contact the caring staff at TLC Home Care Services today. Call (856) 234-8700 for more information.
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