EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- It's Elder Abuse Prevention Month. It's a chance for better understanding of the issues faced by older people -- and the struggles they face. Mental health is ageless. Elder abuse can stem from a stream of mental concerns.
The abuse itself can show up in many forms -- physical, financial or emotional -- with many older people dependent on family and other groups to support them. In the El Paso area, there are over 130,000 residents over age 65. Elder abuse can stem from social distancing; dependence; mental decline or living situations -- and the National Center for Elder Abuse says isolation is often a central risk factor in abuse. Isolation and depression can be a major concern.
Depression itself can be treated a variety of ways, including medication and therapy. While it can be difficult, experts say it's important to talk about depression as soon as signs are visible. Treatments are often individual, and unique to the person. It can also be an issue for people with dementia. The national aging institute says depression can actually be a warning sign of dementia. Support systems for both dementia and depression are key to helping adults recover from mental health issues and stigma.
Physical activity, health diets, consistent hours of sleep and regular contact with other people can have a positive impact on depression symptoms in many older adults.
Texas Adult Protective Services investigated more than 3,000 situations in homes in the El Paso area last year -- over 2,300 had a person suffering from some type of neglect, abuse or exploitation.
The National Institute on Aging says that stress, medical issues, sleep issues and loneliness can bring on depression -- for older adults time spent alone can lead to higher rates of depression. Calling relatives or joining a club can help people feel much more connected. Depression itself can be treated a variety of ways, including medication and therapy. While it can be difficult, experts say it's important to talk about depression as soon as signs are visible. Treatments are often individual, and unique to the person.