It is obvious that we are faced with an aging population. Within three decades individuals aged 65 years or older are expected to make up 23% of the Australian population (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2013). This is a stable increase from 13% in 2007, emphasising Australia as an aging country (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2013). This is evident not only within the demographic regions of metropolitan and rural cities and towns of Australia but also among other countries in the world. It is with this discrepancy that presents such a large challenge within the population and from a health perspective. This essay will explore the social, cultural and psychological ...view middle of the document...
(Berk, 2009). The elderly will experience declines in their eye sight, hearing, taste, smell and in some cases may also experience touch sensitivity decline. (Berk, 2009). All systems in the body are affected as one ages. As the nervous system declines in later life, mental deterioration may become a significant issue. The older adult may experience slower processing speeds, memory loss and mental disorders such as depression. (Berk, 2009). These examples of mental deterioration are related to the process of aging and form the basis of the psychological issues linked with the increase in the aged population.
PSYCHOLOGICAL ISSUES RELATED TO THE INCREASE IN THE AGED POPULATION
With the increase in the aging population and the extended life expectancy individuals are faced with a number of debilitating psychological issues. Dementia is one of great significance when it comes to the older adult. Dementia is a mental disorder that has many characteristics such as personality disintegration, confusion, disorientation, decline in intellectual capacity and in particular impairment of control of memory. (Harris, Nagy and Vardaxis, 2011). Dementia is a highly prevalent disorder particularly in the elderly. By 2050 it is predicted that the number of Australians experiencing this disorder will exceed 730,000 people. (Berman et al., 2012). This is a significant increase of four times the amount of sufferers since the year 2000. (Berman et al., 2012). This large increase may be due to the aging crisis that we are already beginning to face and the fact that people are living to a much older age. The neurodegenerative changes that occur as a result of dementia will eventually lead to a ‘loss of self’ in sufferers of the disorder. (Stein-Parbury, 2011). This loss of self can
mean that individuals who suffer from dementia will experience a lower quality of life due to the understanding that they are no longer who they once were. Often patients who suffer from dementia are unable to recognise their family members and have trouble recalling details relating to their life prior to the onset of the disorder. This unawareness of self, experienced by dementia suffers can ultimately lead to depressive symptoms or depression as a disorder.
Depression and suicide in the elderly is particularly notable when it comes to the psychological issues that correspond with the increase in the aging population. In some cases depression in the older adult may stem from dementia and the understanding that they are no longer themselves due to the disorder however in some cases depression is looked at as an entirely separate disorder of its own. Dementia and Depression are the most recurrent psychiatric disorders experienced by the elderly population. (Müller-Spahn and Hock, 2009). Depression may occur more frequently in the older adult due to life changes such as the loss of a partner, retirement, social isolation and loneliness. (Müller-Spahn and Hock,...